New Delhi/Chandigarh: A delegation of MPs, led by former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, on Saturday met President Ram Nath Kovind and urged him to advise the NDA government to constitute a Joint Select Committee to resolve all flashpoints in the ongoing parliament session including repealing of the three agriculture laws.
The restricted number of MPs who called on President Saturday due to Covid protocols included Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Ritesh Pandey (BSP), Hasnain Masoodi (J&K National Conference) and Faizal Mohammad (NCP). MPs from seven parties signed the memorandum which was submitted to the President.
Briefing newsmen about the meeting, Badal said the delegation also apprised the President that family members of farmers who had been martyred during the ongoing Kisan Andolan wanted to meet him and urged him to give them an audience.
She also apprised the President that the sentiments of martyr families had been wounded by the recent intemperate statement of agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar that the union government did not have any record about farmer deaths during the Kisan Andolan. She said this statement was being seen as an attempt to belittle the Kisan Andolan and its martyrs.
Stating that it did not behove of an elected government to adopt a heartless attitude towards its farmers, Ms Badal said the delegation apprised the President that opposition parties including the SAD had moved repeated adjournment motions to demand a discussion on repeal of the three agriculture laws but they were not allowed.
“We urged the President to advise the government to give time to the opposition to raise the demand for repeal of the farm laws on Monday itself”. She also appealed to all parties to leave their differences and unite as one to demand repealing of the farm laws.
Stating that the government should not run away from discussion on sensitive issues of public importance, the former union minister said the delegation also brought the issue of State surveillance of citizens including politicians, journalists and activists through the Pegasus software to the notice of the President.
She said the MPs said since the Israeli company had disclosed that it sold its spyware only to governments, the centre should come clean and disclose why it indulged in surveillance of its subjects.
The MPs said instead of issuing empty denials which did not hold water due to complete disclosures made by the international media and watchdogs, the government should form a Select Committee to look into this issue also.
Talking to the media, the MPs said the onus was on the government to allow a discussion on the farm laws and Pegasus surveillance issue and it should do that keeping in view constitutional propriety and high ideals set by Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar. They said the President had assured the delegation to examine all the issues raised by them sympathetically.