Narendra Modi has lost moral right to be PM candidate: Congress on snooping row

CongressCongress fielded its senior women leaders to target Narendra Modi and his government. (PTI)

Targeting the Narendra Modi government for the alleged illegal surveillance on a woman in 2009, the Congress on Sunday demanded a probe headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to fix accountability. The party also said Modi had lost the "moral right" to be the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

The Congress fielded its senior women leaders, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, Housing Minister Girija Vyas, former UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Mahila Congress chief Shobha Oza, to criticise the Modi government for "stalking" and "disregarding individual privacy guaranteed by the Constitution".

Addressing a press conference, Natarajan said, "We are filled with grim discomfort, disquiet and worry over the violation of an individual's privacy... We want to know why a state's anti-terrorism apparatus was involved in illegally stalking an individual. This is a serious offence under Section 26 of the Indian Telegraph Act read with Section 120-B as also Section 166 of the Indian Penal Code."

"If government machinery is misused...Modi has no moral and political right to govern Gujarat...He does not deserve to be the PM candidate of BJP," said Joshi.

Questioning the "misuse" of public money and government machinery for the surveillance operation, the party asked why the woman was "stalked" beyond the boundaries of Gujarat, without the knowledge of the authorities in other states.

"Does this illegal snooping not raise moral and ethical issues as to the capability, mannerism and style of governance of Modi? Can a person with such a flagrant disregard for law, Constitution and liberty of people be trusted to run any public responsibility and protect the rights of citizens," they asked.

Two news portals, Cobrapost and Gulail, had claimed on Friday that former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah had ordered illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of one "Saheb". An alleged taped conversation between Shah and Gujarat IPS officer G L Singhal was aired, in which Shah purportedly instructed Singhal to closely monitor the movements of the woman.

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