The BJP on Wednesday charged the government with keeping presidential candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's campaign managers under phone surveillance. The Home Ministry said it was not aware of such a thing.
Sushma Swaraj, spokesperson of NDA-backed independent candidate Shekhawat, said they would "request the Election Commission" to ensure their phone lines are not tapped.
"Our confidentiality is being disturbed, our communication systems are being frustrated," she alleged.
Swaraj said her phone as well as those of other Shekhawat's campaign managers S S Ahluwalia and JD (U)'s Digvijay Singh were tapped over the past week.
The Congress termed her charges "foolish''. Party leaders also ridiculed the saffron party's call for a conscience vote.
"Where was your conscience when the Godhra riots took place in Gujarat? Where was Arun Shourie's conscience when he, as Union disinvestment minister, robbed trade union employees of their jobs?'' asked a pugnacious Renuka Chowdhury, a spokesperson for presidential candidate Pratibha Patil.
"Where was Shekhawat's conscience when the mosque was demolished?'' added veteran leader Shashi Bhushan, who set a precedent in 1969 with his appeal for a conscience vote for VV Giri.
"What is there to tap? We can't be bothered to waste time,'' said Chowdhury, recalling BJP leader Swaraj's penchant for wild statements like shaving off her head if Sonia Gandhi became Prime Minister.