New Delhi: Escalating its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government over snooping by Pegasus spyware, the Congress Party on Tuesday accused the ruling dispensation of hijacking democracy.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged the use of Pegasus software to topple the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka.
He also hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and questioned whether he has the right to remain in office.
Surjewala said the government has abducted and shunned democracy through ‘Operation Kamal’.
He said that its chronology is that Pegasus software was used to buy an elected government so that the Congress government could be toppled.
He said it will be known further in which states, including Madhya Pradesh, the government was toppled and the power was reversed.
Surjewala said Prime Minister Modi-led government has committed treason by killing an elected public opinion.
“The Modi government has trampled under the feet of the Constitution and the Modi government has toppled the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka by misusing the Pegasus software,” he added.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge, said the Pegasus software may have been used not only in Karnataka but in many other states.
“Modi ji and Shah ji have agreed to end democracy. We have got everything from democracy but they want to do dictatorship to end democracy,” said Kharge, adding the same approach would have been used in Madhya Pradesh and Goa.
AICC general secretary KC Venugopal echoed similar sentiments and citing the example of Madhya Pradesh alleged the Centre is involved in toppling elected governments through this software.
Leader of Congress Party in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, alleged this is Prime Minister Modi’s ‘New India’
Chowdhury said the espionage case is proof of the BJP government’s failure.
“It is proved today that the BJP has converted democracy into an espionage system,” he added.
He said that the BJP formed the government after winning the elections, but when other parties tried to do the same after emerging victorious in the polls then both Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah together were “setting a new example by using espionage machinery to topple the government”.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal on his part said snooping on the phones of the politicians violates multiple laws of the country and is a threat to national security.
Demanding Home Minister Shah’s resignation on the issue, Sibal also sought a clarification from Prime Minister Modi and said the government must find out those responsible.
“Our constitution says the government should protect national security, but what if our government jeopardised national security?” said Sibal.
“If a link is given to Pegasus software then it shows your activities. The government should tell whether they ever used it or not,” he added.
The case of spying through the Israeli software Pegasus has garnered a lot of attention. There have been allegations of phone tapping of the country’s cabinet ministers to opposition leaders as well as many renowned personalities.
Moreover, a new set of revelations by ‘The Wire’ in the Pegasus row claims that leaders of the Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka as well as their personal staff were “possible targets” of the spyware in 2019, around the time their government was toppled.
The news portal in its latest report has revealed that phone numbers of then Karnataka deputy chief minister G. Parameshwara and also of the personal secretaries of former chief ministers HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah were allegedly selected as potential spyware.
However, the government has completely denied the report and termed it as a conspiracy to defame the ruling dispensation.