Kolkata: Latching on to the Pegasus snooping row, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday accused the Modi government of trying to establish a "surveillance state".

She also asked the Supreme Court to take cognizance of snooping scandal that purportedly targeted politicians, activists, journalists and even judges using the Pegasus spyware, and asked Opposition parties to come together to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

"BJP wants to convert a democratic country into a surveillance state rather than a welfare state," she said addressing the Martyrs' Day rally in Kolkata online.

The TMC observes Martyrs' Day on July 21 every year to commemorate the killing of 13 people in police firing on a rally of Youth Congress workers against the then Left Front government in 1993 when Banerjee was in the Congress.

The TMC supremo also accused the Centre of spending the money collected through tax on fuel and other commodities for spying using a "dangerous software" instead of funding welfare schemes.

"I know my phone is being tapped. All opposition leaders know that our phones are being tapped. I can't speak to NCP leader Sharad Pawarji or other opposition leaders or chief ministers because we are being snooped and spied on by the Centre. But snooping on us won't save them in 2024 Lok Sabha polls," Banerjee told the rally.

Slamming the BJP-led NDA government for its "monumental failure" in handling the second wave of the COVID crisis, the TMC supremo termed the saffron party a "highly loaded virus party" which needs to be defeated at any cost.

Banerjee thanked leaders of the Congress, NCP, SP, Shiv Sena and several other parties for joining her rally virtually from New Delhi.

She said all those opposed to the BJP and its "authoritarian regime" should defeat it.

"BJP has taken the country to darkness, we all have to come forward to take it to new light," the Bengal leader said.

"Khela Hobe" (will play), she declared, renewing the battle cry she made during the state assembly elections, adding the fight will continue till BJP is ousted from power.

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Bengaluru,Jul 31: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said he is likely to get a message from the BJP high command on cabinet expansion in a couple of days and will have to leave for New Delhi once again to finalise it.

"I couldn't meet J P Nadda (BJP National President) today, but had met him yesterday.

Most likely they will send a message to me in two days and I'll have to go to Delhi once again.

We will finalise the cabinet," Bommai said.

Asked whether the cabinet expansion will take place in two stages, he told reporters here on his arrival from Delhi that it cannot be revealed now.

Bommai was on a two-day visit to Delhi during which he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Nadda, a host of central Ministers, MPs and Ministers from Karnataka, among others.

Ministerial aspirants, meanwhile, have continued lobbying to secure a berth in the new cabinet.

While several legislators, including some former Ministers, are camping in Delhi and are lobbying to make it to the new cabinet, some have openly expressed their aspirations to become Ministers.

According to party sources, some legislators like Ramesh Jarkiholi, M P Renukacharya and Munirathna have met former Chief Minister and BJP veteran B S Yediyurappa at his residence here.

Demanding a Ministerial post, Haveri MLA Neharu Olekar said he should be given an opportunity in the new cabinet and it is the wish of party workers from the constituency, who have even staged a demonstration.

"Our fight will not end. This is the third time and I should be given the opportunity... I'm confident that the leaders will bless me.

No opportunity has been given so far to anyone from the Chalawadi community by BJP,while Congress has given...so there is the fear of them shifting towards Congress," he said.

Senior BJP leader and former Minister K S Eshwarappa said he has been getting several calls stating that he should have been made the Chief Minister after Yediyurappa was removed and at least he should be made Deputy Chief Minister now.

"It is for the high command to decide," he said.

Stating that cabinet formation is left to the discretion of the Chief Minister, another senior leader and former Minister V Somanna said Basavaraj Bommai is close to him and has experience.

"His father was also a CM, and will choose his cabinet ministers."

Downplaying reports of a rift between him and another senior BJP leader R Ashoka, he said "it is an internal matter between us. It is an old issue and has nothing to do with cabinet formation or becoming a Minister.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah urged that the cabinet be formed at the earliest, as the CM alone cannot handle things

Meanwhile officials have to be instructed to take measures to manage flood and the COVID situation, he said.

"I don't think he (CM) discussed cabinet expansion during his Delhi visit. Maybe he may go once again...but he should have discussed it and finalised, given the current situation," he said.

Bommai, who was elected as the new leader of the BJP legislature party on Tuesday following Yediyurappa's resignation, took oath as the Chief Minister on Wednesday.

Expanding the Ministry will be the first big challenge before the new Chief Minister as he will have to navigate through the cabinet formation exercise by maintaining a balance between factions within the ruling BJP.

There are several aspirants among the party old guard and youngsters. There are also legislators who had joined the BJP after quitting Congress-JD(S) coalition in 2019.