- "Can have fish curry, if allergic to papri chaat": Naqvi to Derek O'Brien
- "Conspiracy to malign Parliament's dignity": Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
- Earlier, Derek O'Brien called Centre's rushing bills "making papri chaat"
Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien's culinary-themed swipe at the government over the "rushed" passage of bills has drawn a 'foody' response from Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Mr Naqvi, who is also Deputy Leader of the Rajya Sabha, declared Mr O'Brien "can have fish curry, if he's allergic to papri chaat", and then accused him of conspiring to "malign Parliament's dignity".
"If he's allergic to 'chaat-papri', he can have fish curry. But don't turn Parliament into a fish market. Unfortunately, the manner in which work is being done with conspiracy to malign Parliament's dignity, has never been seen before," Mr Naqvi was quoted by news agency ANI today.
On Monday, Derek O'Brien slammed the government for rushing bills through Parliament "at an average time of under seven minutes per bill", sarcastically asking if it was "making papri chaat".
"In the first 10 days, Modi-Shah rushed through and passed 12 bills at an average time of UNDER SEVEN MINUTES per Bill... " he wrote in a caustic tweet.
"Passing legislation or making papri chaat?" he asked.
#MASTERSTROKE#Parliament— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) August 2, 2021
In the first 10 days, Modi-Shah rushed through and passed 12 Bills at an average time of UNDER SEVEN MINUTES per Bill ????(See shocking chart????)
Passing legislation or making papri chaat! pic.twitter.com/9plJOr5YbP
That was not the first time Mr O'Brien has slammed the government for rushing bills, nor was it the first time he invoked food to get his point across; in 2019 he asked: "Are we delivering pizzas..."
The monsoon session of Parliament has conducted little business because an unrelenting face-off between the government and the opposition; battle lines between the two (already at odds over Covid and the farmers' protests) escalated sharply after the Pegasus scandal exploded last week
On Tuesday Prime Minister Modi slammed the opposition for not allowing Parliament to function. He referred to "derogatory comments by a senior MP regarding passage of bills" - the "papri chaat" tweet.
Last week the Prime Minister singled out the Congress and accused it of spurning attempts at resolving an impasse that has seen little, if any, work conducted in this session of Parliament.
Over in the opposition camp, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is leading a "united" front of more than a dozen parties, including the Trinamool, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the DMK. Yesterday, Mr Gandhi and leaders from these (and other) parties had a breakfast meeting to chalk out strategy.
The Congress has said the government is to blame for the non-functioning of parliament, as it has not agreed to demands made by an "united" opposition.
These include a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the Pegasus scandal, as well as a discussion in Parliament with both the Prime Minister and Home Minister Amit Shah present.
The government has refused, insisting that surveillance of the alleged kind is impossible given existing checks and balances in India's legal framework. It has also referred to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's statement in Parliament and indicated it considers the matter closed.
The Trinamool, in power in Bengal, has set up a commission to inquire into the Pegasus charges.
With input from ANI
Disclaimer: The NSO group, which owns Pegasus, admits this is spyware and is used to hack phones, but says it does business only with governments and government agencies. The Israeli company says it does not corroborate the list of potential targets reported by media companies around the world.
Disclaimer: The Indian government has said there is "no substance" to the reports of Pegasus being used by it against opposition leaders, journalists and others. NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the list of those who were supposedly targeted.