West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee dared telecom authorities to disconnect her phone, said she won’t link number with Aadhaar under any circumstance
Hitting out at the Narendra Modi-led central government, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on Wednesday, declared that she will not link her phone number with Aadhaar card. The Trinamool Congress chief dared telecom authorities to disconnect her connection if they wanted to.
“Under no circumstances will I link my Aadhaar with my telephone number. If the authorities disconnect my phone, let them do it. It will actually save me a lot of trouble as I won’t have to go through a number of text messages,” said Banerjee.
Speaking at an extended core committee meeting of her party in Kolkata, the combative chief minister also urged Trinamool Congress workers and leaders to follow her lead and not link their phone numbers with the 12-digit unique identification number.
“I would urge you to protest in a similar manner. How many telephone connections will they disconnect? What does BJP want? Do they want to listen to people’s secrets? It’s a direct attack on privacy,” she said.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number given to Indian citizens who enroll with their biometric details. A program started by the Congress-led UPA regime, Aadhaar had been stiffly opposed by the BJP and Narendra Modi before May 2014. However, since assuming the office of Prime Minister and driving his party to a brute majority in the Lok Sabha in the 2014 general elections, Narendra Modi has stridently advocated the benefits of Aadhaar while his government has made it mandatory for citizens to link their bank accounts, mobile phones, ration cards, etc with their respective unique identification number.
The government’s order making it mandatory for citizens to link their Aadhaar numbers with identification documents like PAN card and birth certificate or with mobile phones and bank accounts is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next month. A bunch of petitions have been filed before the apex court challenging the mandatory linking of Aadhaar numbers on the ground that the order infringes on a citizen’s privacy – something that the Supreme Court had identified earlier this year as a fundamental right.
Claiming that the linking of Aadhaar with the phone numbers will violate an individual’s fundamental right to privacy, Mamata Banerjee said, “I am not bound to make all my personal conversations public. After you link Aadhaar with your phone, even personal conversations between husband and wife will reach the BJP office. We are taking up the issue in and out of the Parliament. If need be, we may fight it legally too.”
However, the TMC chief pointed out that the West Bengal government and her party had accepted the Centre’s directives to link the Aadhaar cards with PAN as it involves income tax collections.
(With inputs from PTI)