LEADERS OF several political parties took strong exception to the war of words between the BJP and the Congress after AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacked the ruling party for purportedly using the Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads along the LoC for political gains.
While some leaders blamed both parties, others squarely blamed the BJP for beginning it.
BSP’s Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Siddhartha said on Friday, “Both parties are fooling the people. Our soldiers are sacrificing their lives on the front, while the BJP and the Congress are politicising the issue for their own gain.” He said that neither party has “any concern for soldiers, and they only want their own benefits”.
Stating that all this was started by the BJP, senior CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member D Raja said, “Otherwise why did the Prime Minister have to advise his ministers and party leaders to not get into chest-thumping? It means the BJP had started (politicising the surgical strikes).”
Alleging that the BJP is “hyping the surgical strikes” for political gains, he said, “This is highly deplorable…the BJP should conduct itself as a responsible political party. The government itself claims that it was a counter-terrorism offensive and not a military action. And when people ask questions, they try to make it appear as some kind of duel between the BJP and the Congress.”
Raja said if one goes through Rahul’s statement it would be clear that he has questioned the Prime Minister and the government. “He has not said anything about the Army,” the CPI leader said.
On the choice of words of Rahul Gandhi, he said “I can’t comment on the language. The point is, the BJP started politicising the surgical strikes…. Look at the statements made by the Defence Minister from day one.”
CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat said, “Once the issue of border and the issue of government responsibility for security becomes an issue not of national security but of addressing a domestic constituency, this tu-tu-main-main is an outcome of that.”
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson D P Tripathi said that being the leader of the principal opposition party, Rahul Gandhi should have refrained from using such words. According to Tripathi, the surgical strikes were “historic”, but there should not be any “chest-thumping” and “drum-beating” over the issue.
Janata Dal (United) secretary-general K C Tyagi said, “We wonder why the BJP should try to use the surgical strikes by the Army for political gains. We also wonder why the Congress should question the Army’s announcement of its action,” Tyagi said.
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal urged all parties to set aside their differences and rally behind the Prime Minister. Critical of Rahul, Kejriwal said, “Our soldiers valiantly carried out surgical strikes and demolished terror addresses. I strongly criticise Rahul Gandhi’s remarks wherein he said that the Army’s sacrifices and bravery was ‘khoon ki dalali’.”
The Trinamool Congress refused to comment.