#Pegasus Row : Combative Mamata Banerjee Takes On Modi Government Says It Wants Surveillance State, Bats For Opposition Unity

Picture : Twitter / ANI

Latching on to the snooping row, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday accused the Modi government of trying to establish a “surveillance state”, and pitched for opposition unity to oust the “authoritarian” BJP government in the Lok Sabha polls.

She also asked the Supreme Court to take cognisance of the Pegasus snooping scandal that purportedly targeted activists, politicians, journalists and even judges using spyware.

“BJP wants to convert a democratic country into a surveillance state rather than a welfare state,” she said addressing the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata online.

The TMC supremo also accused the Centre of spending the money collected through tax on fuel and other commodities for spying using “dangerous software” instead of funding welfare schemes.

“Our phones are being tapped. Not only being tapped…

its like a recorder. All opposition leaders know that our phones are getting tapped.

“I can’t speak to NCP leader Sharad Pawarji, Chidambaram or other opposition leaders or chief ministers because we are being snooped and spied on by the Centre. But snooping on us won’t save them in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” Banerjee told the rally.

The stormy Bengal leader held up her mobile phone, its camera plastered with adhesive tape, in a gesture of protest against alleged spying by the government.

“Pegasus is dangerous and ferocious. They are snooping on Abhishek Banerjee (her MP nephew) and Prashant Kishor (poll strategist). So I have plastered my phone. Similarly, the BJP government should be plastered otherwise the country will be ruined. The BJP is working to destroy the federal structure,” she said.

Banerjee urged the Supreme Court to order on its own a probe into the snooping row.

“There are three important things in a democracy — media, judiciary and the Election Commission — and Pegasus has captured all three. I would appeal to the Supreme Court to come to the nation’s aid. Save the country, save our democracy.

“Can’t you (SC) take suo motu cognisance as all phones are tapped? Please set up a panel to probe. Only judiciary can save the country,” she pleaded.

Banerjee alleged that the money earned through steep fuel prices is being used to spy on judiciary, politicians, journalists and others.

“The union government collected 3.7 lakh crore from fuel taxes. Where is the money going? No vaccines are available. They are spending the money on surveillance. Phones of Union Ministers’ are being tapped. Pegasus spyware intercepted the phones of judiciary, politicians, media,” she said.

She attacked both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the scandal, the latest flashpoint between the government and the opposition.

“Modiji, please don’t mind. I have nothing against you personally. But you and your Home Minister are deploying (central) agencies against opposition leaders. You are misusing the agencies.”

To Top