HOME MINISTER Rajnath Singh had some uncomfortable moments in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday when Congress MP Digvijaya Singh, citing discrepancies between the reply given in the House to a member’s question and an election speech of the Prime Minister in Gonda, concluded that intelligence agencies seemed to be bypassing the Home Minister and reporting straight at 7-Lok Kalyan Marg, the Prime Minister’s residence. Asking a supplementary to a question about railway accidents, Digvijaya recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Gonda, “The police have found a huge conspiracy which was hatched by the people sitting on the other side of the border.”
“The question which Sanjay Raut-ji (of Shiv Sena) has asked is, whether it is a fact that the ISI and Pakistan-sponsored agencies are involved in such attacks,” Singh remarked. “The answer is, the matter is under investigation, which means, the honourable Prime Minister is getting his reports directly from the NIA, of which the honourable Home Minister is not aware of.” Modi was talking about last year’s train accident in Kanpur, which had left nearly 150 people dead, in Gonda on February 23.
Hedging his reply, Rajnath Singh said many terror attacks are being plotted — and many of them at the behest of the neighbouring country. “The particular statement of the Prime Minister that you are referring to, I would like to clarify that such news items have appeared in the past as well…. The PM did not directly allege an ISI hand in the accident,” he said.
Not one to be easily warded off, Digvijaya accused Rajnath of hiding information that the Prime Minister is privy to. When he insisted that his question is whether the NIA is reporting directly to the PM, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari rejected it.
Within minutes, junior minister Hansram Gangaram Ahir faced disgruntled members when his reply on terror attacks after the surgical strikes in PoK last year failed to satisfy them and they accused the government of deliberately sidestepping the actual questions. Supporting the opposition members, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “Sir, such an important question has been brutally murdered. I have never seen something like this in 36 years. The question is about surgical strikes, and the discussion is on ceasefire violations.”
CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury said, “All of us were part of the all-party delegation…to Kashmir. Although we went late, we wanted to go earlier. Hon. Home Minister headed the delegation. After that, we adopted a communiqué. That communiqué said that (the) problem in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Kashmir Valley, is not to be dealt with only as a law and order problem, and that there will be a political dialogue with all the stakeholders.”