BJP can stoop to any level to gain power: Former Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy


THE BJP is willing to go to any extent to topple governments and this is a dangerous development, former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday following fresh revelations that a telephone number belonging to one of his personal secretaries was listed for hacking using Pegasus spyware in the final days of the JDS-Congress government in 2019.

“The BJP can stoop to any level to gain power. This is dangerous,” said the JDS leader, whose personal staff, incidentally, came under CBI investigation in 2019 – after the fall of the coalition government – for alleged tapping of telephones of political rivals.

The telephones of G Parameshwara, the then Congress deputy CM; Sathish, a personal assistant of the then CM Kumaraswamy; Venkatesh, the personal assistant of former CM Siddaramaiah; and Manjunath, a personal guard of former PM and JDS supremo H D Devegowda were shortlisted as targets for spying, according to media reports.

“The names of Siddaramaiah, Parameshwara and myself have appeared. I am not bothered about all those things because several governments and even the Income-Tax department tends to tap important phones. I know that. This has been happening for the past 10 or 15 years. It is almost a routine process now,” Kumaraswamy said.

“Is this a sign that the BJP, which is now spying on politicians, officials, media and activists will one day, if necessary, spy on the personal lives of citizens? Such a day is not far away. The people should be aware of these activities of the BJP,” he said.

Siddaramaiah said that it was a crime to snoop on people through illegal means. “This has been done by the Government of India led by Narendra Modi. They have done it to topple the government and they succeeded in that. This is why the phones were tapped. It is a crime, according to me. It has to be raised in both houses of Parliament and an inquiry should be conducted,” the former CM said. “This kind of crime should be stopped. My PA has admitted that his phone number was among those reportedly shortlisted for snooping,” Siddaramaiah said.

“They targeted the phone number of my PS Venkatesh who has been with me for 25 years. They also wanted to spy on the phones of Satish the PA to the then chief minister Kumaraswamy, Manjunath a personal security guard of former PM H D Devegowda and former deputy CM G Parameshwara,” he said.

Former deputy CM Parameshwara said, “Every time we believe the BJP-led central government cannot go any lower, fresh proof arrives to show they can and will stoop to the lowest. Pegasus snoopgate shows that the BJP will do everything, including partnering with foreign powers to gain power and topple secular governments.”

The JDS-Congress government led by Kumaraswamy collapsed in July 2019, around 14 months after it was formed, when 17 MLAs from the Congress and JDS defected to the BJP. The defections helped the BJP stake a claim to power, and B S Yediyurappa’s return as CM.

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