The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Saturday said they were not satisfied with Home Minister P. Chidambaram's denial that the government did not tap telephones of four senior political leaders.
BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should respond to the demand for setting up of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to look into the allegations.
"The government's statement is an afterthought. Why they did not respond the first day (when allegations surfaced)? The prime minister should respond to the demand for JPC," Naidu told reporters here.
He said the BJP will raise the issue in parliament again Tuesday as "people were agitated over unethical and undemocratic tapping by the government".
The issue rocked Parliament on Monday following a report in a newsmagazine that the government had tapped telephones of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, CPI-M leader Prakash Karat and Congress leader Digvijay Singh.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said a statement should come from the prime minister. "We are not satisfied with statement of home minister."
The Congress, however, said Chidambaram's statement in both the houses had made it clear that no phone tap were authorised by the government.
"The fundamental question is whether the opposition is looking for a reply from the government or wants to score political brownie points," Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said.
He said the home minister's statement had made it clear that no phone tapping of political leadership was authorised either by the present United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government or the previous one.
"There cannot be a more candid, upfront, transparent statement," Tewari said.
Answering a query, he said it was public knowledge that some tapping equipment was "commercially available and even an individual can do it".