Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today raised questions on the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, in which more than 40 security personnel were killed, and said the Centre had given no proof of the surgical strikes against Pakistan. He accused the government of "peddling lies", drawing a sharp reaction from the BJP, which said the Congress is insulting the army.
The Congress distanced itself from the veteran's comments.
"Pulwama has been a hotbed of terrorism and every car is checked. A Scorpio car comes from the wrong side. Why was there no checking? Then there is a collision and 40 of our jawans are killed. To date, the government has not given information about the incident in parliament or in public," said Digvijaya Singh at a rally during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
"They talk about surgical strikes - that we killed these many people. But there is no proof. They are ruling by peddling a bundle of lies," said the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.
Hours later, the Congress said Mr Singh didn't reflect the party's views.
"The views expressed by senior leader Digvijaya Singh are his own and do not reflect the position of Congress. Surgical strikes were carried out before 2014 by UPA government. Congress has supported and will continue to support all military actions that are in the national interest," tweeted Jairam Ramesh.
The views expressed by senior leader Digvijaya Singh are his own and do not reflect the position of Congress. Surgical strikes were carried out before 2014 by UPA government. Congress has supported & will continue to support all military actions that are in the national interest.— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) January 23, 2023
Digvijaya Singh was speaking in Jammu a day after joining Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The BJP slammed Mr Singh's comments, targeting even Rahul Gandhi.
"With a heavy heart, we have to say that Rahul Gandhi may be taking out a Bharat Jodo Yatra but the Congress party is all about Bharat Todo (divide India). Rahul Gandhi and all Congress leaders, to stay in the headlines, make irresponsible comments. India will not tolerate the insult of its Army," said BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.
India launched surgical strikes in 2016 days after 18 soldiers were killed in a terror attack on an army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.
The February 2019 Pulwama attack on a security convoy was blamed on Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Days after the attack, India retaliated with aerial strikes at Balakot, deep in Pakistani territory.
The Congress has raised questions in the past about the Pulwama attack and the aerial strike. Over the years, the party has toned down its criticism, wary of the narrative that the Congress is "doubting our Army".