The BJP lashed out at the Bengal government for setting up a commission of inquiry into the Pegasus snooping controversy, but a section of functionaries said privately that the issue had embarrassed the party and it should have welcomed the judicial probe.
“Why are we even surprised that Mamata Banerjee has constituted a judicial commission to investigate bogus “Pegasus Project”? Her priorities have always been warped,” tweeted BJP’s national IT chief and cominder for Bengal, Amit Malviya.
“If only she had shown such alacrity to probe postpoll violence and investigate several Covid scams in Bengal!” Malviya added.
Bengal’s leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari retweeted Malviya’s post.
Immediately after Malviya, BJP’s Asansol South MLA and chief of the state women’s wing, Agnimitra Paul, took to Twitter and alleged that the state government had spent “Rs 32.53 crore for the past six years on 13 commissions of inquiry” for political purposes and the Pegasus probe would be no different.
However, several state BJP office-bearers admitted off the record that the surveillance allegation was an embarrassment for the party nationally as well as at the state level. Some of these leaders went to the extent of saying that Mamata Banerjee’s decision to initiate a formal probe into the snooping of phones through Pegasus spyware was a masterstroke.
“The best thing for the party would have been to laud the commission and let it be. The fact that our leaders are going all out against the CM shows that there must be something wrong,” a state BJP functionary said.
One BJP leader also appreciated Mamata for the time she chose to announce the commission. “She made the announcement just before her departure for Delhi. This will obviously be talked about nationally,” this leader said.
“Our leaders could have been a bit more sensitive while reacting to it.”
The chief spokesperson of the state BJP, Samik Bhattacharya, tried to turn the tables on Trinamul during a news conference.
Bhattacharya said it was alleged that the Bengal government snooped on the telephones of its own ministers, officers and journalists. Thus, its role in the Pegasus issue must also be probed, he added.
“Didn’t a certain police commissioner go to Israel in the past ten years? Did he not hold meetings with their representatives? Don’t the STF and CID use softwares like Pegasus? These questions must be asked,” Bhattacharya said.
He added that former state BJP chief Rahul Sinha and Mukul Roy, the former de facto Trinamul number two who had joined the BJP in 2017 and went back to his former party after the recent Assembly polls, had also complained of being snooped on.