New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah Saturday cited Sam Pitroda’s comments to accuse the Congress of “insulting” martyrdom of soldiers killed in the Pulwama terror attack and asserted that only his party can ensure the country’s security. In a fresh offensive against the Congress a day after its leader Pitroda questioned the government’s aggressive action against Pakistan, Shah asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to apologise to people and armed forces for these comments.
Speaking to media, Shah said Pitroda’s statement conveyed that the Pulwama terror attack was a “routine” incident carried out by a few people for which Pakistan cannot be blamed, as the BJP chief asked Gandhi to make his party’s stand clear on the issue.
Pitroda, he added, also questioned surgical strikes and air strikes by the Indian armed forces.
“Does the Congress believe that terror incidents in the country have nothing to do with the Pakistan government or Pakistan Army?” Shah asked, seeking Gandhi’s response.
Pitroda is Indian Overseas Congress chief and is seen to be one of the key advisers to Gandhi. His comments, including that one cannot “jump on entire nation” (Pakistan) just because some people from there “came here and attacked” in reference to Pulwama terror attack, were Friday seized on by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lead the BJP’s all-out attack against the Congress on the issues of terrorism.
Keeping the heat on the opposition party on the issues of terrorism and nationalism in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Shah said Saturday the Congress is known for “vote bank” and “appeasement” politics during election and asked if such politics can be above national interest and the “blood of martyrs”.
The BJP president then drew a comparison between the Congress-led UPA dispensation’s “no strong action” against terrorism and the Modi government’s “zero tolerance” against it to assert that only the saffron party is capable of securing India.
“I want to reassure people of this country that only the BJP can provide security to the country, can give a befitting response to terrorism and can foil Pakistan’s conspiracy,” he said.
The Modi government has succeeded in isolating Pakistan internationally and the morale of security forces is sky high, he said.
Shah said the Congress president on March 7 had said that questions raised on air strikes should be answered. “But whose questions he wants to be answered and who raising questions on Indian Air Force. Who do you support? It is not proper for the national president of a party to raise such questions and doubt the IAF,” he said.
Attacking Gandhi, he added, “When anti-national slogans were raised in JNU you called it freedom of expression and you also went there in their support. This is an example of your abhorrent vote bank politics”.
The BJP president also rejected the Congress distancing itself from Pitroda’s comments by terming them as his personal views, as he wondered “what is personal view in politics”.
People have seen through the Congress’ “strategy” of running an orchestrated campaign like this for vote bank politics and have been distancing themselves from it, Shah said in a swipe at the opposition party.
He cited past controversial comments of several Congress leaders – including B K Hariprasad, Kapil Sibal, Digvijay Singh and Sandeep Dikshit among others – from which their party had disassociated itself, and claimed that it is part of Gandhi’s politics.
The Congress president should tender an apology without any delay, he demanded.
Citing Pitroda’s comments, Shah said Gandhi should also answer if he believes that armed forces’ actions like surgical strikes and air strikes will not work in dealing with terrorism but dialogue with Pakistan will.
Shah said many terror attacks were carried out in the UPA rule government and asked, “If terror attacks shouldn’t be responded with surgical strikes and air strikes, then is this the Congress’ policy to deal with terrorism with talks. You opted for talks but what was the result?”
The “Sonia Manmohan” government was in power for 10 years but there was no tough action taken against terrorism because the Congress lacked courage, he claimed.