Mamata Banerjee attacks Centre over Pegasus snoop list before meeting PM Modi
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee sharpened attack against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government on Thursday over the Pegasus snoop list, ahead of her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi next week.
With the monsoon session going on, Banerjee is also likely to visit the parliament and meet several opposition leaders during her stay at the National capital.
“...I had sought an appointment with the Prime Minister and he has given me time. I will also try to meet the President. This apart several political leaders have requested that they want to meet me. I would try to adjust and accommodate as far as possible in two to three days,” Banerjee said on Thursday while speaking to media persons.
Mamata is scheduled to go to Delhi on Monday and is likely to return on Friday. This will be the first meeting between Modi and Mamata after the two met for 15 minutes in the aftermath of Cyclone Yaas. The centre-state relation then nosedived as the Union government recalled Alapan Bandyopadhyay, the then chief secretary of the state, for skipping the PM’s review meeting.
With Pegasus snooping row rocking Parliament for the third consecutive day, Banerjee sharpened her attack against Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.
“If any big scam or scandal emerges when the parliament session is going on, it is the duty of the Prime Minister and Union home minister to give a statement to brief the parliament and inform the citizens of the country. But instead of doing that they are trying to bulldoze any voice that is being raised. No one will support this autocratic attitude,” she said while condemning the Income Tax raids on a media house.
The TMC supremo has on multiple occasions in the past alleged that her phone was being tapped. On Thursday, she hinted that spyware could have been used to snoop and record a high-level meeting of her party before the recently concluded and bitterly fought assembly elections that led to her party defeating the BJP to return to power for the third consecutive term.
“Ahead of the assembly elections, four of us, me, Abhishek Banerjee, Subrata Bakshi and Prashant Kishor were holding a meeting. The mobile phones were with us, even though we were not talking over the phone. The entire meeting was recorded. We came to now after PK got his phone audited. Can you imagine how dangerous it is?” Banerjee said.
On Wednesday, Banerjee had accused the Central government of turning the country into a “surveillance state” and appealed to regional parties to come together to form an opposition front to defeat the BJP in 2024 general elections.
“Everyone across the country should get united. Alone, I am no one. But together with you I would make 100. I would be plus one. We have to tell that the country can’t be run just by jumla baji (false promises) and julum baji (atrocities),” she said on Thursday.
The BJP however mounted a counter attack saying that the TMC wants to divert attention from the NHRC’s report which has slammed the state government for post poll violence, which allegedly led to killing and rape of several BJP supporters.
“The NHRC report has unmasked the government and all its lies are now out. In a bid to divert the attention, the TMC is now raising such allegations. But this won’t stand,” said Samik Bhattacharya, BJP spokesperson in West Bengal.