Senior CPM leader Brinda Karat on Monday threw her weight behind Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit, who triggered a row by describing Army chief Bipin Rawat as a “sadak ka gunda” (street thug). “Army Chief’s statements result in controversy, as (his) statements itself are objectionable,” Karat was quoted as saying by ANI. The communist leader also said the Army chief was undermining the status of his post.
Earlier in the day, the BJP took strong objections over the Congress leader’s remarks and demanded an apology from its chief Sonia Gandhi. Addressing a press conference, Sitharaman said the Congress had shown a “consistent pattern” in undermining democratic institutions and it was shocking that its leader had now targeted the Army. She also called upon the Congress to disown the leader for trying to shame and demoralise the Army.
Facing criticism, Dikshit had tendered an apology, saying that he had reservations about his comments regarding the Army Chief but should have chosen appropriate words.
On Sunday, the former Congress MP had said: “Ours is not a mafia army like the Pakistani army which makes statements like the goons on the street. It looks bad when our Army chief gives a statement like a ‘sadak ka goonda’ (goon on the street).”
Sandeep, the son of ex-Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, said the Indian Army had depth and was gentlemanly and as it was a great institution, it brought along a particular culture with it. “I don’t think our Army chief lived up to that…I believe this Army chief does not live up to my image of what the Indian Army should be. I believe, the Army chief should not make political statements,” Dikshit had said.
Earlier, Army Chief Rawat had drawn criticism from various quarters, mainly from the Left parties and TMC, after defending Army Major Leetul Gogoi’s act of tying a Kashmiri man to the bonnet of his jeep and using him as a “human shield” against stone-pelters in the Valley.
With inputs from ANI, PTI