Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack recently on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government over the Pegasus snooping issue.
He alleged that the prime minister and Home Minister Amit Shah have used the Pegasus spyware against the Indian state and against our institutions.
“Pegasus is classified by the Israeli state as a weapon and that weapon is supposed to be used against terrorists. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have used this against the Indian state and against our institutions,” Rahul said to reporters outside the Parliament while staging a protest against the government.
“They have used it politically, they’ve used it in Karnataka, they’ve used it to scuttle probes, they’ve used it against the Supreme Court, they have used it against all the institutions of this country. The only word for this is treason. There is no other word for this,” he added.
He further said, “My phone was tapped. It’s not a matter of Rahul Gandhi’s privacy. I’m an Opposition leader, I raise the voice of people. This is an attack on the voice of the people. The Home Minister should resign and there should be a Supreme Court inquiry against Narendra Modi.”
Rahul is among the names found on a leaked database of potential targets in an investigation by The Wire, Washington Post and other media houses worldwide.
“I am not a ‘potential target’. My phone is tapped, it is clearly tapped. Not only this phone, all my phones are tapped,” the Congress leader said.
The government has rejected Rahul’s demand for a court-monitored inquiry into the snooping allegations. Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that the Congress leader should handover his phone to investigating agencies so that a proper investigation could be conducted.
He reiterated that no phone or gadget is being recorded illegally and if someone feels so, they should seek the help of agencies for action as per the law of the land.
The government has dismissed the reports of using Pegasus software to snoop on Indians, saying the allegations levelled just ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament are aimed at ‘maligning Indian democracy’.
When reporters asked him whether he was worried, he replied: “I am not afraid. I don’t get intimidated. In this country, if you are corrupt and a thief, you will be afraid of Modi. If you are neither of those, you have nothing to be afraid of,” he said.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was quick to pick this up, thanking him for the compliment.
“Even Rahul Gandhi admits that corrupt people have fear of the Modi government. Good to see him speak the truth for a change; hope it doesn’t turn out to be a one time thing (sic),” Sarma tweeted, sharing a video of the Congress leader saying those words.
In public life leaders have to be very careful about the choice of their words. Many practice their speeches and conduct mock drills for press conferences. In a world where there is 24×7 media glare on big personalities, such mistakes can prove to be costly.
With the BJP’s strong network of WhatsApp groups on social media, this video would have been shared multiple times, and would have reached every nook and corner of the nation. It has already become viral. Memes were made and circulated on this incident.
This statement reinforces the image created by the BJP amongst the majority of the population about Rahul Gandhi.
This is either a slip of the tongue or a mistake by the speech writers who have committed this blunder. This happens when you have people thinking in English and then translating in Hindi.
Rahul, himself more comfortable in English than Hindi, may have committed this error, and ended up saying something completely different from what he may have intended.
This incident again proves that Rahul, however hard he tries, will not be able to take on Modi in 2024. Even the Congress party’s staunch supporters and the anti-Modi camp realise that they need a fresh face.
As the famous dialogue in Gangs of Wasseypur goes, ‘Beta, tumse na ho payega’. This is how most Congress supporters might be feeling today.