NEW DELHI: Why did Rahul Gandhi take so long to publicly declare his respect for the armed forces, the BJP asked on Tuesday, slamming the former Congress chief for dismissing Digvijaya Singh’s controversial comments on surgical strikes as his “personal opinion”.
It also asked the Congress to make its stand clear on the issues of terrorism and national security.
As Gandhi snubbed his party colleague Digvijaya Singh for raising questions on surgical strikes as the BJP seized the row to corner the opposition party, BJP leader and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress has a habit of projecting uncomfortable views of its leaders as their personal views and asked if there is any limit to such opinion.
“The question is what is the standard of these leaders when it comes to respecting our armed forces. Indians do not seek proof of their heroics but salute them,” Prasad told reporters, noting that Singh has a history of taking controversial stands, be it visiting families of suspected terrorists killed in the Batla House encounter or praising radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
Attacking Gandhi for his “vacillating” stand on armed forces, he also cited some of his previous remarks, including a recent comment in Dausa during the Bharat Jodo Yatra questioning the government’s handling of the border standoff with China and claim that the Chinese were “beating up” Indian soldiers.
He had used the “khoon ki dalali” barb after the 2016 surgical strikes to attack the Modi government and gone to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to extend moral support to “tukde tukde gang”, Prasad told reporters.
Why it took him so many years to say publicly that he respects armed forces, the BJP leader asked. He should have also said “sorry” for what he had said earlier, Prasad added.
He also took a dig at Congress leader Jairam Ramesh for physically preventing a journalist from asking questions to Singh on his statement about the surgical strikes and the 2019 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Gandhi on Tuesday said he and the Congress do not agree with Singh’s comments on surgical strikes and that the armed forces do not need to give any proof. It is ridiculous, he said on the remarks.
“I don’t agree with the statement of Digvijaya Singh. It is crystal clear that we disagree with it. It is the official position of the Congress,” Gandhi told reporters in Jammu and Kashmir.