Union minister Anurag Thakur on Friday hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his claims of being under surveillance by intelligence agencies and accused him of maligning India on foreign soil after facing successive electoral setbacks.
Thakur wondered what prevented Gandhi and other Congress leaders from submitting their phones to a Supreme Court-appointed technical committee that probed the Pegasus snooping issue.
Thakur’s remarks came after Gandhi claimed in a speech at the Cambridge University that Indian democracy was under threat and that several politicians, including himself, were under surveillance using Israeli spyware Pegasus.
“We can understand his hatred towards the prime minister, but the conspiracy to malign the country on foreign soil with the help of foreign friends raises questions on the agenda of the Congress,” Thakur, the information and broadcasting minister, told reporters here.
Thakur said Gandhi was aware of the electoral rout the Congress was facing in the assembly elections and had resorted to levelling allegations from foreign soil.
“Once again, the Congress lost in the elections but their bankruptcy was evident when they lost no opportunity to malign India from foreign soil,” he said.
Thakur accused Gandhi of resorting to repeated lies on the issue of Pegasus and said he was now levelling allegations from foreign soil with help from foreign friends and agencies.
“On Pegasus, what was the compulsion for Rahul Gandhi that he and other leaders did not deposit their mobile phones? What do you want to hide? It has become their habit to defame the country by using foreign soil and foreign friends,” he said.
Thakur said Gandhi should have at least listened to what Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had to say about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“She said Modi has emerged as a major leader. Rahul and the Congress are unable to accept repeated electoral setbacks,” Thakur said.