Accusing the Congress-led UPA of running a "terrible" government and even a "more terrible" opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Sunday said their statements have hurt India's national interest and gave handle to Pakistan to discredit the country.
Within days of India's air strike at Balakot, the 21 opposition parties led by the Congress passed a resolution accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of politicising the Pulwama and Balakot incidents.
"Statements made by opposition parties (after IAF's counter terror operation in Balakot) hurt India's national interest. They give smiles to Pakistan and become an instrument in Pakistan's hands to discredit India's operation against terrorism," Mr Jaitley said in a blog, stressing that on such occasions the nation ought to speak in one voice as was done by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jan Sangh during the 1971 war.
Terming the resolution passed by 21 opposition parties as inappropriate, he said, it gave a handle to the enemy and Pakistan's media used the statement as a trump card.
The government had twice taken the leaders of opposition parties into confidence, he said.
Referring to the statement of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the finance minister said that he sought to elevate himself to the status of a neutral third party while raising doubts about India's right to defend its sovereignty from those who want to damage it through terrorism.
"I was most disappointed with a brief but a highly objectionable statement of the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh," Mr Jaitley said.
While receiving the PV Narasimha Rao Award for the lifetime achievement, Dr Singh had stated that he was disturbed with the "Mad rush of mutual self-destruction" by the two nations. Dr Singh further went on to argue that poverty, ignorance and disease were the real problems in the two countries and that saner counsel on both sides needed to think on the issue.
Mr Jaitley wondered that there was no condemnation of terrorism in that speech of the former prime minister.
Implicitly, he doubts India's right to defend its sovereignty from those who want to damage it through terrorism, he said.
Mr Jaitley further said: "The Congress-led UPA Government from 2004 to 2014 ran a terrible Government. From 2014 to 2019, it was even a more terrible Opposition".
Pointing that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went a step further, he said, she started doubting the veracity of the incident and wanted to know the operational details.
"The credibility of both the Government and our Air Force is being doubted. Even Congress leaders have raised similar questions," he said in a Facebook post titled India's Opposition Has A Lot To Learn.
Mr Jaitley emphasised that the Opposition is entitled to oppose and ask questions, but then restrain and statesmanship are also essential ingredients of public discourse.
He expressed hope that India's Opposition revisits its position and does not let down the nation.
Mr Jaitley also pointed that the retaliatory attack by Pakistan's F-16 was the most botched up operation and the neighbouring country was globally isolated.
"Not only was Pakistan globally isolated, the issue of its terrorism has reached the Security Council. So helpless was the situation that it was in no position to even admit the attack at Balakot. If it had admitted the attack and its consequences, the evidence of a terrorist camp in existence and the list of dead terrorists would have been international issue," he said.
Reacting to Mr Jaitley's post, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a tweet said: "'Blog Minister' continues his antics as a self styled 'Caricaturist' to stay relevant by attacking Dr. Manmohan Singh.
Atleast 5 Surgical Strikes took place under Dr. Singh's charge but he didn't make bravery of Jawans a political pamphlet for votes."
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