Mumbai : Senior Congress party leader Sanjay Nirupam stirred up a massive controversy on Tuesday by calling the surgical strikes that took place in Pakistan occupied Kashmir as ‘fake’ in a tweet.
The former Member of Parliament later called on the Centre to give proof of the surgical strike. Following the comments, the Congress party distanced itself from statement and also slammed the party’s Mumbai unit chief.
In a tweet Nirupam wrote, “Every Indian wants #SurgicalStrikesAgainstPak but not a fake one to extract just political benefit by #BJP. Politics over national interest.” Speaking to reporters later Nirupam said, “I think all claims made by the government on surgical strikes are fake and will be fake until the Centre gives proof that such an operation took place.”
Nirupam added that the BJP is using achievements of the armed forces for political benefits. “The Centre is trying to take political gains out of the sacrifice of our soldiers. Surgical strikes used to happen before, but they were never publicised. Three surgical strikes happened during the UPA regime, the Congress never displayed a banner about it, but the BJP is putting up banners across the nation. I have even heard that Defence Minister is going to be felicitated in Goa,” he said.
However, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil struck a different note when he said that Nirupam’s comments were in bad taste.
He said that Congress party has full trust in the country’s armed forces and that the party does not subscribe to Nirupam’s views. “People should restrain from making such kind of comments; it was in bad taste. The Congress vice president has complimented the Prime Minister for the surgical strike across the Line of Control,” Vikhe-Patil told The Free Press Journal.
BJP slammed Nirupam and said that he believes Pakistan’s propaganda and not the Indian government. “Both, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have supported the government and congratulated the army after the surgical strikes were carried out. So does he have more information than the Congress leadership? Apart from that he is talking in the tone of Pakistan so I doubt whether he is an Indian,” said Madhav Bhandari, BJP chief spokesperson.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said Congress should ask Nirupam to resign for disrespecting the armed forces. “The statement [about the surgical strikes] was issued by the DGMO and not by any political part. He seems to have more faith in Pakistani propaganda than India’s armed forces. He should be sacked immediately from his post,” Gorhe said.