A day after a Pakistan minister suggested his country was behind the Pulwama terror attack - in which 40 CPRF personnel were killed - Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has demanded that the Congress "apologise to the country" for "conspiracy theories" and remarks about the incident.
"Pakistan has admitted its hand behind Pulwama terror attack. Now, Congress and others who talked of conspiracy theories must apologise to the country," he tweeted Friday morning.
In February, on the first anniversary of the attack, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had targeted the BJP, holding the ruling party accountable for "security lapses" and asking "who benefitted the most from the attack?" Mr Gandhi also wanted to know the outcome of an inquiry into the attack.
The Congress MP wasn't the only member of his party to attack the BJP on this issue. In March last year, BK Hariprasad, a Karnataka Congress leader who has a history of controversial statements, said: "... it looks like Narendra Modi had a match-fixing with the people of Pakistan".
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh was also criticised for his comments.
"What has happened to the Congress? They say the opposite of the people's mood. In no country does it happen that the there is mistrust of the armed forces," Mr Javadekar said at that time.
Pakistan has admitted its hand behind Pulwama terror attack. Now, Congress and others who talked of conspiracy theories must apologise to the country.— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) October 30, 2020
On Thursday Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhury had said: "Humne Hindustan ko ghus ke maara (We hit India in their home)". He later claimed to NDTV that his statement had been "misinterpreted". "Pakistan doesn't allow any terrorism, I was misinterpreted," he said.
On Thursday BJP chief JP Nadda referred to a meeting between Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, - details of which were disclosed in the Pakistan Assembly - after the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Mr Qureshi reportedly said that unless he were released, India would attack Pakistan "that night by 9 pm."
"Congress' princeling (a reference to Mr Gandhi) does not believe anything Indian, be it our Army, our Government, our Citizens. So, here is something from his 'Most Trusted Nation', Pakistan. Hopefully now he sees some light..." Mr Nadda tweeted.
Congress' princeling does not believe anything Indian, be it our Army, our Government, our Citizens. So, here is something from his ‘Most Trusted Nation', Pakistan. Hopefully now he sees some light... pic.twitter.com/shwdbkQWai— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) October 29, 2020
In recent weeks the BJP has repeatedly attacked the Congress, including during election rallies for the ongoing Bihar polls on the opposition party's "praise for Pakistan". Mr Nadda has pointed to comments by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and declared that Mr Gandhi "speaks the language of Pakistan".
The Pulwama attack - which took place weeks before last year's Lok Sabha election - and the ensuing air strikes by the Indian Air Force, triggered political sparring over a narrative built by the BJP around a tough policy against terror that the party repeatedly raised during campaigning.
The Congress and Left were among several who accused the BJP of capitalising on the issue.
India responded with air strikes on a terrorist camp in Pakistan's Balakot. Pakistan retaliated by sending jets to target Indian military installations. The strike was blocked but an Indian plane went down and its pilot, Wing Commander Varthaman, was captured. He was released two days later.
Mr Chaudhury later claimed he was referring to those strikes when he made his controversial remark.
With input from ANI