Ashok Gehlot asks PM Modi to address nation on Pegasus issue


Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the nation on the Pegasus issue to end the confusion on the matter. “The GoI should come forward and give a clarification…if the government is clean, then the Prime Minister should himself address the nation and end the confusion,” said Gehlot, addressing newspersons on the reports claiming that India bought the Pegasus spyware from Israel as part of a defence deal in 2017.

He said, “Supreme Court is not able to do hearings on the matter on priority, which it should, but that’s not happening…who should be blamed? Spying in itself is wrong, and if you put the telephone on surveillance illegally, it is a big atrocity, then you can imagine what happened in it, and is happening.” He added that Richard Nixon had to resign as US president in a matter of spying. He said that an atmosphere is there in the country where those who disagree or express disagreement are targeted. Wherever elections are scheduled in any state, the CBI and Enforcement Directorate go after them. “The democracy is running in such an atmosphere in the country, and so I repeatedly say that the democracy and the Constitution are in danger,” said the CM.

Hitting at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he said they have created a ‘Troll Army’ on social media, who attack anyone who disagrees with them. “You write anything on social media, the troll army of RSS and BJP, which is given lakhs and crores of rupees, comes to attack. In a democracy, disagreement and criticism are welcomed but today if you criticise, you are anti-national. In what direction the county is moving? This should be a matter of concern for every citizen,” he said. After offering tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on Shaheed Diwas at the state secretariat, Gehlot said that those who follow the ideology of the man who assassinated Gandhi are ruling the country and are MPs.

On the issue of the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teacher (REET) paper leak, the chief minister said that the state government took swift action and handed over the investigation to a special operation group of the Rajasthan police, which has conducted a thorough probe.

Apparently ruling out the possibility of a CBI inquiry in the paper leak case, as demanded by the Opposition BJP, Gehlot said that the BJP leaders should give suggestions to the state government to improve the system instead of playing with the future of youngsters. He also said that such people have become leaders in the BJP who have no understanding of politics and give statements without thinking. “They should do some brainstorming before speaking. Because of them, lakhs of students are getting demoralised. After inflation, unemployment is a major issue. The state government has taken steps to improve the system,” he said.

Gehlot said that the chairman of the Board of Secondary Education was sacked and secretary and other officials were suspended in connection with the matter and action will be taken against all those, whose names come in the course of the investigation. A committee of high court judge has been constituted to probe the matter, and in the future to ensure that such things shouldn’t happen, the government is bringing a bill in the coming assembly session. The board chairman DP Jaroli was sacked and the board secretary Arvind Kumar and two others were suspended by the state government on Saturday late evening in connection with the REET exam paper leak, which was held in September last year.

Commenting on the allegations, BJP MLA and spokesperson Ram Lal Sharma said, “The opposition and 85% of the youth are demanding cancellation of REET exam, the CM should value their sentiments.”

He said the constitution has given the right to speech to the citizens, if people are expressing their view on social media, what is wrong in it? It is rather healthy that people are sharing their views and opinion. On Pegasus, he said a story in a paper cannot be held credible or correct.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)