The Congress and its affiliates have begun targeting the Narendra Modi government over news reports on Sunday that an Israeli spyware sold only to state agencies had been used to hack phones of numerous people in the country, including Union ministers and journalists.
The reports were brought out by multiple international publications and The Wire in India, which were media partners to an investigation conducted by Paris-based media non-profit organisation Forbidden Stories and rights group Amnesty International. The reports revealed the Pegasus software was used to target more than 50,000 phone numbers across the world.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi appeared to have been building up a narrative on Twitter to target the Modi government. On Sunday, Rahul revealed he had liked a book, The Unfettered Mind by Takuan Soho, and asked his followers what they were reading. On Monday, Rahul tweeted, “We know what he’s been reading- everything on your phone!” and used the hashtag Pegasus.
Congress MP Karti Chidambaram had been among the first to hint that major revelations regarding the use of Pegasus were coming. He had tweeted on Saturday that “A little birdie tells me that Pegasus is going to be explosive”.
On Sunday night, Chidambaram referred to a snooping controversy involving a young architect during Narendra Modi’s tenure as Gujarat chief minister in 2013. Chidambaram tweeted, “Will the ministers of this @BJP4India government who apparently were snooped claim that they voluntarily allowed #pegasus to embed their phones, like someone in Gujarat who said he asked for the state police to tail his daughter?”
Karti Chidambaram also pointed out on Twitter that US president Richard Nixon had resigned over the Watergate scandal in 1974. The Watergate scandal involved the misuse of government agencies to snoop on political rivals.
The Twitter handle of the Congress’s Seva Dal unit in Telangana also referred to the snooping controversy in 2013. The Telangana Seva Dal tweeted a screenshot of a news article in 2013 and exclaimed, “This was in 2013. Saheb has M.A in Entire Snooping,” trolling Modi by using the honorific of ‘Saheb’ and referring to his master’s degree in entire political science.