New Delhi: Congress and BJP were on Saturday engaged in a slugfest over alleged illegal snooping on a young woman by a close aide of Narendra Modi with the ruling party charging that this is an assault on civil liberties while BJP rejected Congress demand for a rethink on its prime ministerial nominee.
BJP President Rajnath Singh rubbished the allegations and charged that the "dirty tricks wing" of Congress is behind the controversy.
"There is no question of doing a rethink on our prime ministerial candidate even if a thousand baseless allegations of this kind are made against Modi. We have already said that we apprehend the dirty tricks wing of the Congress will make such baseless allegations against Modi as the elections draw near," Singh said.
He was responding to Law Minister Kapil Sibal`s demand yesterday that BJP will be forced to rethink its prime ministerial candidate as the charges are very serious.
Modi`s close aide and former state home minister Amit Shah was yesterday accused of misusing his power and police machinery for illegal surveillance of a young woman in 2009.
Singh also wondered how Cobrapost got the call details when IPS officer G L Singhal, who did the illegal surveillance, had handed over the records to CBI.
"Singhal had got bail with CBI support. He was also involved in the Tulsi Prajapati encounter but still got bail," Singh said.
He pointed out that Cobrapost itself has said it cannot make any claims about the authenticity of the CD.
Meanwhile, Congress upped the ante against BJP alleging that the Opposition party wants to make India a Orwellian state.
"First the Gujarat pogrom, which was followed by fake encounter and now the brazen assault on civil liberty by state sponsored stalking. What kind of state do these people want to create in which you and I, our family members, every man, woman on the street will be subject to stalking by state apparatus," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said.
CPI(M) demanded a court-monitored inquiry into the matter.
"To use the powers of the state and further to use the
anti-terrorist squad to snoop on the private life of a young woman, to follow her every movement, to snoop also on her other family members and friends, shows the utterly unethical and illegal practices and degeneration of the minimum norms of democratic governance under Modi," CPI(M) said in a statement.
Calling upon Gujarat Government to take immediate action against Shah and the police officers who allegedly violated the Indian Telegraph Act, CPI(M) said, "It is well known that for Amit Shah there is only one `Saheb` and that is Modi. What was Modi`s interest in the matter?"
Congress sought to know if this is BJP`s definition of freedom and liberty and its respect for constitutional values.
"It raised some very fundamental question with the regard to the Orwellian state which the esteemed gentleman who heads Gujarat has sought to construct," Tewari said.
Orwellian state relates to the satirical novel 1984 of George Orwell, which depicts a futuristic totalitarian state.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh also took potshots at BJP, wondering whether supporters of Narendra Modi would condemn or defend the "spying on an innocent girl" by the Gujarat police.
"Modi and Amit Shah used Gujarat Police to spy on an innocent girl! Didn`t Gujarat Police and then Home Minister violate the Law of the Land?," Singh wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter.
Through another tweet, he sought to know "would All Modi lovers pl react and condemn it or as a true loyalist defend Modi and Amit Shah."
Another Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed tweeted: "For "Saheb" Amit Shah, then MoS Home, used cops to snoop on a young woman from Gujarat. Everyone asking who is the "Saheb"? Media speculating!".
However, an unfazed BJP strongly defended Modi.
"The woman`s father has also given a statement that he had asked Modi, with whom he had family relations, for security for his daughter. The head of the government is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the people. Modi was only performing his dharma," Singh said.