Rahul Gandhi addressed a Congress rally in Telangana’s Rangareddy district yesterday


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has used the Telangana phone tapping row to launch a two-pronged attack on the Bharat Rashtra Samithi and the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Addressing a rally in Telangana’s Rangrareddy district yesterday, Mr Gandhi said, “What your former Chief Minister (K Chandrashekar Rao) did here, the Prime Minister and the BJP is doing in Delhi, Enforcement Directorate has become Extortion Directorate.”

Mr Gandhi’s remarks on the central agency are part of the Opposition’s charge at the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of misusing probe agencies for political objectives. Leaders of the INDIA bloc hit out at the Centre on this issue during a rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in a money laundering case.   

The KCR-led BRS government is at the centre of a massive controversy in the wake of allegations that senior police officers tapped the phones of Opposition leaders, including current Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, and several celebrities and businessmen.

Several senior police officers have been arrested after Mr Reddy ordered an investigation into the matter. It is also alleged that surveillance of businessmen was used to blackmail them into contributing to the BRS party fund.

The Congress and the BJP have hit out at the BRS as the shocking allegations come to the fore.

Former minister and KCR’s son KT Rama Rao has suggested that if any phone-tapping occurred, it may have been limited to a few troublemakers or criminals. The Congress, he said, was “exaggerating it as an international scam”, he said at a party meeting.

This drew a sharp response from the Chief Minister, who said KTR was “shamelessly admitting” to tapping phones and called for accountability.

BJP MP from Telangana and Union minister G Kishan Reddy has said the Election Commission should rethink BRS’ recognition in the light of the allegations. “This is not an ordinary case. It is a very serious matter. This is not only a political vindictive action and not just a phone tapping matter for political benefit. But, a violation of personal privacy, respect of individuals and concerned rules had happened,” he told reporters here.

The 17 seats of Telangana are voting in a single phase on May 13. In the 2019 elections, the BRS had won nine seats, the BJP four, the Congress three and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM one. With the Congress coming to power with a thumping win in the state polls last year, the party is looking to up its tally this general election.

In his address in Rangareddy, Mr Gandhi said “everyone in Telangana knows that Congress is fulfilling promises”. “The unemployment in the country is the highest in 40 years, but the Telangana government has given government jobs to 30,000 people and 50,000 more people will get jobs,” he said.


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