HD Kumaraswamy spoke to TNM about reports of his personal secretary being selected for potential targeting by Pegasus in 2019.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy PTI
news Politics Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 08:24

“Even if I ask for an independent inquiry, who will head it, who will submit the report, will they really submit a fair report? These questions arise and make me feel that it will just be a waste of the taxpayers money,” said former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, speaking to TNM about reports of Pegasus link to toppling of Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka in 2019. The Wire reported that two phone numbers belonging to Satish, the personal secretary of then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, had been selected for potential targeting by Pegasus in 2019.

The report indicates that even one phone number belonging to Venkatesh, the personal secretary of former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, a security detail of former Prime Minister and JD(S) Chief HD Devegowda and the number of G Parameshwara, then Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, were all targeted around the same time that trouble started for the coalition government in June-July in 2019. Seventeen legislators from the Congress and JD(S) resigned and later joined the BJP, paving the way for BS Yediyurappa to become the CM.

Kumaraswamy says the role of the Narendra Modi-led Union government in the episode is evident and Pegasus was used for the same. “When the MLAs were taken to BJP-ruled-Maharashtra, it became clear that it was at the behest of the Union government. It has become common to misuse power. Using this system (Pegasus), they leveraged the misunderstandings that existed in the coalition government,” he said

But the JD(S) leader downplayed the issue that has been making headlines across the country. While saying that the BJP is not unique in misusing power for political spying, Kumaraswamy cast aspersions on the Congress too. “It is not true that this (spying) has started now. State and Union governments have intelligence departments. They have a system to track what happens across the country. Even Congress did the same thing when they were in power,” Kumaraswamy said.

Even as Karnataka Congress leaders are in Delhi to sort out the leadership crisis, Kumaraswamy refused to comment on the ongoing infighting. But he added that the Congress should not discuss who will be their CM before winning 112 seats in the Assembly polls. Commenting on Congress Lingayat leaders rallying behind Yediyurappa, Kumaraswamy said, “On one hand, Siddaramaiah says this is a corrupt government and should fall. On the other hand, leaders like MB Patil, Shamanur Shivashankarappa say that as a Lingayat leader, he should not be insulted. It looks like the Congress leaders do not really care about Yediyurappa but are just looking to win the support of Yediyurappa’s vote base.”

Kumaraswamy asked the BJP leaders to solve their issues internally and that the governance should not be impacted because of it. Speaking about the issues regarding river water sharing, Kumaraswamy alleged that in all three projects — Mekedatu, Mahadayi and Krishna — injustice is being meted out to Karnataka. “With facts and figures, we have asked for an appointment with the governor to present our case along with JD(S) MLAs and leaders. We want to send a memorandum to be sent to the PM

"Despite BJP being in power in both the state and centre, Karnataka is suffering. The Modi government does not like Karnataka,” he added. 

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