“The government of India took Rs 3.75 lakh crores from the public pocket — and where are they spending this money? People are not even getting the vaccines or medicines. Where is the PM-Cares fund? Who is taking care of that? And now because of Pegasus, can you imagine? I have done one thing — I have plastered my phone. What to do? They are tapping everything, be it audio or video. So I have put a plaster on my phone and similarly a plaster should be put on the BJP government too, otherwise India will be ruined,” Mamata said.
She also asked the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the snooping scandal that purportedly targeted politicians, activists, journalists and even judges, using the Pegasus spyware, and asked Opposition parties to come together to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“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 observes Martyrs’ Day on July 21 every year to commemorate the killing of 13 people in police firing on a rally of Youth Congress workers against the then Left Front government in 1993 when Banerjee was in the Congress.
“I have plastered my phone because they tap everything, be it video or audio”: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) on #Pegasus spyware reports pic.twitter.com/WO07dpiAeJ
— NDTV (@ndtv) July 21, 2021
The TMC supremo also accused the Union government of spending the money collected through tax on fuel and other commodities for spying using the “dangerous software” instead of funding welfare schemes.
“I know my phone is being tapped. All opposition leaders know that our phones are being tapped. I can’t speak to NCP leader Sharad Pawarji or other opposition leaders or chief ministers because we are being snooped on and spied on by the government of India. But snooping on us won’t save them in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” Banerjee told the rally.
Slamming the BJP-led NDA government for its “monumental failure” in handling the second wave of the COVID crisis, the TMC supremo termed the saffron party a “highly loaded virus party” which needs to be defeated at any cost.
With PTI inputs