WHILE BACKING the Centre on the surgical strikes, the Congress slowly switched gears on Monday, saying the operation was not unprecedented and that though the Army had taken action even in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013, the then government chose not to take “political ownership” for those actions. Former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the number of terror camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) were brought down from 62 to 40 in the last two years of the UPA-II government.
Shinde said there were 62 terrorist camps in PoK when he took over as Home Minister in July 2012. “It was reduced to 40 when I left office,” he said.
While the Congress leadership backed the BJP government, it is now facing pressure from within to come out with the UPA
government’s record. “Just tell us how many punches did you deliver or didn’t,” Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit wrote in a
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Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma pointed out that India had been attacked before and to “think that the Army had not
reacted in the past or not taken action would be inappropriate…”
“The Army takes the decision and it had taken decisions in the past…in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013. But the then government
had left it to the Army and not taken political ownership,” said Sharma. Asked why the UPA government had not publicised the
strikes, he said, “We were a different government and a different political party. The present government thought it had
become necessary to claim political ownership and we have not questioned their decision.”
Talking to The Indian Express, Dikshit said, “Dr Manmohan Singh and others thought this is something that the Army deals with adequately. It is not something that had to be brought out in public domain because this is not the kind of nationalism… that defines a proud growing nation…the thinking that a hypothetical killing of two or three dozen people can soothe the nerves of a nation. I really pity these people.”
He said he would not have asked the UPA leadership to come out had the BJP government not resorted to the cheapest form of false propaganda.