PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist
PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist

Haveri (Karnataka): Stepping up attack on the Narendra Modi government over the Pulwama terror strike, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday asked the PM to explain to the nation why the then NDA dispensation had released terror outfit JeM chief Masood Azhar from Indian jail. Raking up the release of Azhar by the Vajpayee dispensation in 1999 in exchange for passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines plane, he said Modi should tell the country “how Masood Azhar was sent back (to Pakistan), who sent and which government sent him (back)”. He also asserted that the Congress would not bow down to terror.

“Some days ago CRPF people were killed in Pulwama. I have a small question to the prime minister. Who killed these CRPF jawans? What is the name of the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed?…Masood Azhar,” Gandhi said at a rally in Haveri in north Karnataka, where he sounded the party’s bugle for the Lok Sabha polls. The Congress chief said, “Modiji makes me understand who sent Masood Azhar from India’s jail to Pakistan. Didn’t the BJP government send this person from India’s jail to Pakistan?

“Didn’t you send (then Union minister) Jaswant Singh and your National Security Adviser (Ajit Doval) on the same flight? Did you forget that your (party’s) government sent this person from India’s jail to Kandahar (in Afghanistan)?” “Why are you not speaking about it in your speeches? Why are you not saying the person who carried out the bomb blast on CRPF, who killed CRPF jawans was sent back to Pakistan by the BJP government?” Gandhi asked.

He told the crowd, “Go to the internet, you can see the photo of Ajit Doval who is the National Security Adviser of Narendra Modi along with Masood Azhar at Kandahar airport.” “Modi ji we are not like you, we won’t bow in front of terrorism,” he said. Azhar was released by the Vajpayee government in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999.  On the Rafale fighter jet issue, Gandhi asked Modi to explain “why he gave Rs30,000 crore to Anil Ambani. You help me understand why did you purchase Rs526 crore aircraft at Rs1,600 crore.”

“You also tell the pilots of Air force that by robbing from their pockets you have given it to Anil Ambani,” he said. Gandhi said Modi had asked the people to make him “a chowkidar” and spoken about 56-inch chest and people voted for him. But on the Rafale issue “Narendra Modi himself through theft has put Rs30,000 crore to Anil Ambani’s pocket,” he alleged.

“Earlier when he used say achhe din, people used to respond saying aayenge (will come). You remember? Now if someone says chowkidaar, people respond chor hai.” Meanwhile, the Congress hit out at the Centre over a media report PNB scam accused Nirav Modi was living in a swanky apartment in London and alleged the PM was running a “fraudster settlement scheme” for fugitives.

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