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‘Illegal, Shameful’, says Sonia Gandhi on WhatsApp snooping; BJP hits back

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New Delhi, Nov 02: Congress president on Saturday said WhatsApp snoopgate is not only illegal and un-constitutional, they are shameful.

Sonia Gandhi

Addressing party leaders during a meeting here, Sonia said, "There are so many other issues of which you will be aware. The latest shocking revelation that through the Israeli Pegasus software acquired by the Modi government, snooping and spying activities on activists, journalists and political persons have taken place. These activities are not only illegal and unconstitutional, they are shameful."

On economy, Sonia Gandhi said that the weakening of institutions, withholding data, tampering with statistics have resulted in erosion of India's economic credibility.

"Instead of acknowledging slowdown and looking for a solution, PM Modi is busy managing headlines and events," she was quoted by PTI as saying.

Congress MP writes to Sonia Gandhi, requests support for Shiv Sena

The Congress chief also particularly targeted the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) saying it will result in "untold hardship for farmers, shopkeepers, small and medium enterprises" and will deal a "body-blow" to the economy.

"GDP growth is at only 5 percent in the first quarter. Unemployment levels at 8.5 percent is disturbing. Recent studies now suggest demonetization, GST and subsequent economic decisions of Modi government resulted in unprecedented loss of 9 million jobs during last 6 years."

Hitting back at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for her criticism of the government over alleged online spying on activists, BJP working president J P Nadda on Saturday said she should reveal who ordered snooping on then Union minister Pranab Mukherjee and then Army chief V K Singh during the UPA government.

Nadda was responding to allegations made by Gandhi that the government used Israeli software for snooping on activists and journalists through WhatsApp.

In a tweet, Nadda said the government has already clarified its stand on this issue, and asked the Congress president to clarify who ordered snooping during the Congress-led UPA regime.

"Mrs Gandhi could enlighten the nation about who at 10 Janpath authorised snooping on Shri Pranab Mukherjee when he was a minister in UPA & Gen VK Singh when he was the Army Chief," Nadda said.

WhatsApp on Thursday said Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware Pegasus, leading to a furore over breach of citizens' privacy.

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