The opposition must ask tough questions but must also allow the government to answer them in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today just before the monsoon session began.
"I would like to urge all the MPs and all parties to ask the most difficult and sharpest questions in the Houses, but should also allow the government to respond in a disciplined environment," PM Modi told media persons in the Parliament House Complex.
"This will boost the democracy, strengthen people's trust and improve the pace of development," he said.
The Prime Minister had yesterday said the government looks forward to a productive session where all issues can be debated and discussed in a constructive manner.
In an all-party meeting held ahead of the House session, he said it was everyone's responsibility to create a conducive environment to raise in an amicable manner issues concerning people.
The Congress, responding to the Prime Minister appeal for "constructive suggestions", especially on the Covid front, said it was willing to give its views. However, it also questioned his "toolkit" tactics.
Congress has & will always be open to give constructive suggestions to overcome Modi govt's shortcomings, but will the PM accept our suggestions in the same spirit or will he stick to his toolkit of unleashing troll ministers first, followed by silently implementing our inputs? https://t.co/9xDLu0zGwl— Congress (@INCIndia) July 19, 2021
In any case, the session was off to a stormy start. The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm following an uproar in the opposition benches even as the Prime Minister was introducing the new members of his council of ministers.
"I thought that there would be enthusiasm in Parliament as so many women, Dalits, tribals have become Ministers...Perhaps some people are not happy if the counrty's women, OBCs, and farmers' sons become Ministers. That is why they don't even allow their introduction," PM Modi said amid the ruckus.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh later said the Congress's behaviour in Lok Sabha was "sad", "unfortunate", and "unhealthy".
The opposition was expected to raise key issues such as the government's handling of the Covid situation, the Chinese incursions on the border, and the economy. It has largely rejected the offer of an address by PM Modi on the pandemic to MPs of both houses outside Parliament.
Derek O'Brien, who represented the Trinamool Congress in yesterday's meeting tweeted saying, "MPs do not want fancy PowerPoint presentations on COVID-19 from the PM or this government in some conference room. Parliament is in session. Come to the floor house of the House."
Another major issue that the government is likely to face questions on is the alleged use of Pegasus spyware to snoop on 40 Indian journalists, besides ministers, opposition leaders, members of the legal community, and others. The Israeli company, NSO Group, which sells Pegasus, has denied the allegations, saying it only deals with "vetted governments".