New Delhi, The Indian National Congress on Friday embarked on an damage control exercise after a row was kicked up by party leader Sam Pitroda’s remarks regarding the Balakot air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
In a series of tweets, AICC media incharge Randeep Surjewala, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party should stop using an individual’s personal opinion to spread venom.
He stated that instead of hiding behind the sacrifices of the nation’s armed forces, the PM should answer to the nation on burning issues including rising unemployment, agrarian distress, demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax disasters and the country’s economic downturn.
Terrming the Pulwama terror attack’ as a ‘grave national security failure of the Modi Government,’ Mr Surjewala added, ‘Balakot air strike is a shining example of the valour & bravery of the Indian Air Force.’
‘The Congress has unequivocally said-: Pulwama terror attack was a grave national security failure of Modi Govt, Balakot air strike is a shining example of valour & bravery of our Air Force.
Pak & its terror outfits like JEM, LET & others will never succeed in their evil design,’ Mr Surjewala tweeted.
Mr Surjewala said, ‘Truth also is – Modiji was busy shooting films in Corbett Park & public speech as the nation mourned Pulwama martyrs. Modi Govt was clueless as RDX, MI Carbines & Rocket Launchers were smuggled in to be used in Pulwama, BJP Govt released Masood Azhar & other terrorists.’
Accusing the National Democratic Alliance Government of hiding behind the sacrifices of the nation’s armed forces to hide its failure to tackle the job crisis, agrarian distress, the disasters of demonetisation and the GST and the economic downturn, Mr Surjewala said,’’Modiji & BJP should stop using an individual’s personal opinion to spread venom!
Instead of hiding behind the sacrifice of our armed forces, PM should answer to the nation on jobs crisis, agrarian plight, Demo & GST disasters & economic downturn,’ Mr Surjewala tweeted.
Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit also told reporters that what Mr Pitroda said was his personal view and reminded that UPA 1 and UPA 2 had given befitting replies to Pakistan.
‘Mr Pitroda has a point of view, I think that is his personal opinion. Even after the attacks in Mumbai, it was the government and the armed forces that would have decided at the manner in which to reply to the attack. We have always maintained that even at the time of UPA 1 & 2, about six to seven times our armed forces crossed the border, and gave befitting replies to Pakistan,’ Mr Dikshit said.
Mr Pitroda also clarified that he raised questions in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the party.
‘My comments were quoted out of context today. I will still stand by my questions that I have raised. As a citizen I am entitled to ask queries and to know what happened. I am not talking on behalf of party, just speaking as a citizen. I have right to know, what is wrong in it?’ Mr Pitroda told TV channels.
The remarks by Mr Pitroda that ‘just because eight terrorists ‘come and do something’… you don’t jump on entire nation’ had created a furore with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashing out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
‘Don’t know much about attacks, it happens all the time, attack occurred in Mumbai also, we could have then reacted and just sent our planes, but that is not right approach. According to me that’s not how you deal with world,’ Mr Pitroda said.
PM wades into row
In a series of tweets, Mr Modi attacked Mr Gandhi and Congress, saying ‘ the most trusted advisor and guide of the Congress president has kick-started the Pakistan National Day celebrations ironically by demeaning India’s armed forces. Shame!,”
Pushing the hashtag ‘#JantaMaafNahiKaregi’, Mr Modi also tweeted: “Opposition insults our forces time and again. I appeal to my fellow Indians- question Opposition leaders on their statements. Tell them – 130 crore Indians will not forgive or forget the Opposition for their antics. India stands firmly with our forces”.