Attacking Rahul Gandhi for dubbing Digvijaya Singh`s ‘surgical strike proof’ remark as his ‘personal views’, Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday alleged that Congress resorts to these tactics ‘whenever the party is trapped’ due to its leaders’ statements against the Armed Forces. Recalling the old statements of the Congress leaders including those of Rahul Gandhi in connection with the Armed Forces, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded the party to ‘clear its stand’ over the issue of terrorism and national security.
This comes after Rahul Gandhi today, during a press conference, distanced his party from a controversial statement by a senior leader, and said the Congress disagreed with Digvijaya Singh`s personal comments questioning India`s surgical strikes and described the statement as ‘ridiculous’. “We disagree with Digvijaya Singh`s views. The views of the party are above Digvijaya Singh`s views. We don`t appreciate Digvijaya Singh`s personal views. We are absolutely clear that the Armed Forces do their job exceptionally well and they do not need to provide proof of that,” Gandhi said, responding to reporters’ questions in Jammu on the sidelines of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Hitting back at Congress leader, Prasad, in a press conference, said that for the first time, Rahul Gandhi said that he has respect for the Army, and asked if he was not able to make Digvijaya Singh understand this in the 1000s of km of Bharat Jodo Yatra. “Rahul Gandhi said for the first time that they respect the Army. Digvijaya Singh has been walking 1000s of km with you from Kanyakumari. Weren`t you able to make him understand this? Is it for the first time that he has said such a thing? When you said such a thing, you have given rise to some other questions. The BJP is going to settle the final account with you, as far as your vacillating stand on the Armed Forces is concerned. We have to remind Rahul Gandhi of his previous comments and ask if he would retreat them as well?” Prasad said.
The BJP leader further listed out the previous remarks of Digvijaya, Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders and questioned the ‘training’ of the party leaders today. Prasad also talked about Gandhi’s ‘thrashing’ remark on the Indian soldiers deployed along the LAC and also recalled the ‘Khoon ki dalali’ remark after the Uri attack in Jammu and Kashmir. “On December 16, 2022, Rahul Gandhi had said that the Chinese soldiers are thrashing the Indian soldiers, this was a false and derogatory remark. On June 23, 2022, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on the Galwan issue that has China occupied Indian land, when the Chinese were stopped from occupying the land. On October 6, 2016, Rahul Gandhi had commented on surgical strike and called the bravery of our soldiers as “Khoon ki dalali”. He had also gone to the JNU where the ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ was also present,” he said.
Prasad also mentioned Digvijaya Singh`s previous statements and reminded the Congress party of his ‘personal views’. “I`m bringing Digvijaya Singh`s statements on records. He had called Zakir Naik an epitome of peace. He went to Azamgarh and met the families of the terrorists killed in the Batla House encounter. It is not the question of the personal views of your leaders, the question is the training of the Congress leaders today. The question is the level of respect that they have towards the Army,” he said. “Whenever they are trapped, they only say that it is their personal view. We demand the Congress party to clear their stand over terrorism and national security. Today, the big officers of the Armed Forces have also raised questions,” the BJP leader added.
Digvijaya Singh`s remarks on the surgical strike sparked a political storm on Monday as the BJP and the retired Armed Forces personnel slammed the Congress leader. However, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to distance the party from Singh`s remarks and termed the statements ‘his own’. Meanwhile, former IAF officer Wg Cdr Praful Bakshi (retd) said on Monday that the Indian Army is not bound to give proof about the surgical strikes it conducted in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, adding that the government knows that sharing the details of the attack is “against the policy of the army”. Wg Cdr Praful said that if Congress wants to see the proof, the party should ‘ask the Pakistanis’. Speaking to ANI, Wg Cdr Bakshi said, “The Army does not give any proof. What proof should it give and why? If you want to know, ask the Pakistanis. If they are your friends, they will tell you, if not, they won`t. Nobody can compel the Army to give proof. If the government wants to give proof, it can. But the government also knows that it would be against the policy of the Army. The Pakistanis levelled the place where the attack took place. It does not matter who says what. I think it is not even a question. The media should not react to this.”
The row erupted after Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that there was no proof of the Surgical strike against Pakistan which was claimed by the Centre. “They (Centre) talk about surgical strikes and that they have killed so many of them but there is no proof,” said the Congress leader in his address in Jammu on January 23.
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