Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘dalali’ comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised a political slugfest with all parties coming on the ground to condemn or support his claims. Addressing the final rally of his month-long Mahayatra, the Congress vice-president on Thursday said that PM Modi was pandering the blood of soldiers and hiding behind them. “Humare jawan hain jinho ne khoon diya hai,jinho ne surgical strike kiya, unke khoon ke peeche aap(PM) chhupe huye ho. Unki(jawans) aap(PM) dalali kar rahe ho. (Our jawans who sacrificed their lives, who did surgical strikes, you are hiding behind them. Pandering their blood),” he said.
His comments invited strong reactions from political parties who slammed him for using a word like ‘dalali’. Interestingly, the comments come only a few days after the Congress said it supported the surgical strikes and was united with the BJP on this front. Gandhi clarified his comments on Twitter on Friday, saying that he supported the strikes but was not in favour of using them as political propaganda.
In a tweet on Friday, he said, “I fully support surgical strikes and I have said so unequivocally. But I will not support using the Indian Army in political posters and propaganda all across the country.”
Addressing a press conference in the capital on Saturday, BJP President Amit Shah on Friday slammed Rahul Gandhi, condemning the politics over surgical strikes, saying the Congress vice-president crossed all the limits. “Some parties tried to question the surgical strikes, some even raised doubts. I condemn all those who have insulted our Indian Armed Forces.”
Lashing out at the Congress vice-president for his ‘dalali’ remark for PM Modi, Shah said, “Is dalali a word to refer Indian army and their efforts to save the country?” Shah also hit out at the Congress party for associating itself with the disappointment of Pakistan not the happiness of India.
The condemnation had also come from the party earlier on Friday, with the party terming Rahul Gandhi as an ‘immature leader’. The BJP said Rahul Gandhi made a joke out of the slain soldiers of Indian Army by saying that the surgical strike was nothing but ‘Khoon ki holi.’
“I am really astonished by the kind of language Rahul Gandhi has used for the Indian Government and the Indian Prime Minister. By saying that the surgical strike and the aftermath was nothing but ‘khoon ki holi’, he had in fact made the joke out of the martyred brave soldiers and Indian Army,” said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. Patra further said that Gandhi is an immature leader and his immaturity provided a handle to Pakistan today to accuse India.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday criticised Rahul Gandhi and urged political parties to cast aside their differences and rally behind the Prime Minister. Kejriwal, who was himself in the line of fire over his remarks on the surgical strikes, said the armed forces are to be credited for valiantly carrying out the operation and demolishing terror launch pads across the LoC and that there should not be any politics over this issue.
“Our soldiers valiantly carried out surgical strikes and demolished terror addresses. I have previously done so and want to congratulate the army once again for this. I strongly criticise Rahul Gandhi’s remarks wherein he said army’s sacrifices and bravery was ‘khoon ki dalali’.
“I condemn the use of such words. I have told in the House as well as in a video message that right now there is tension at the border. The entire country should stand behind the army keeping aside political differences and support the Prime Minister’s steps pertaining to security. There should not be any politics over this issue,” Kejriwal said.
Mayawati on Friday also spoke out on the controversy. However, her comment was directed only at the use of the army in political propaganda and not at Rahul Gandhi. “Only Army should be felicitated for surgical strikes, not leaders or ministers,” she said.