Oppn Exceptions to Pegasus Stand, Will Participate in OBC Quota Negotiations
New Delhi: The opposition announced on Monday that it will join the discussion on the 127th Constitutional amendment Bill to restore the power of states to identify and maintain the state lists of OBCs, making a temporary and selective break in its disruption of Parliament over the Pegasus snooping controversy. At a meeting of the floor leaders of opposition parties, called by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, it was decided that they will participate in the debate. Sources said there was some reservation expressed by Trinamool Congress but it agreed to go with the larger consensus given the political sensitivity of the OBC issue.
Kharge, flanked by other opposition members, told reporters it was legislation concerning the backward classes that would be supported. However, as protests later showed, the opposition has only made an exception for the Constitution amendment Bill and is not willing to allow any other discussion in keeping with its “Pegasus first” stance.
Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said, “By agreeing to support the Bill, the opposition has made a positive gesture to the government, and now the government should reciprocate by agreeing to a discussion on Pegasus.” It clearly reflects that despite the conditional thaw, the situation remains fraught in the final week of the session.
A senior leader said the agreement on the 127th amendment Bill can also break down on Tuesday if the government uses the opportunity to bring another bill for debate before the OBC-related legislation. It may even lead to passage of the said bill without discussion, some feel. As the uncertainty looms, the opposition is preparing to use the bill to demand a constitutional amendment to remove the 50% quota cap. Congress’s charge in RS will be led by Abhishek Singhvi and Digvijaya Singh. Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut said the 50% cap is a critical barrier to instituting Maratha quota and must go. NCP and DMK have the same view. The opposition is also planning to embarrass the government by saying that it’s red flags on the formulation of 102nd constitutional amendment were ignored which resulted in the SC order.