- Congress says BJP scoring political points using army action footage
- Law minister says Congress's statements would "gladden terrorists"
- Ravi Shankar Prasad criticises Congress for "doubting the military"
The government today ripped into the Congress over its allegation that the BJP had "shamelessly politicized" the surgical strikes by the army in September 2016 to win votes. An angry law minister struck back with a scornful question - did the Congress even believe there was a surgical strike? The minister said the opposition party's allegations will make terrorists glad - reiterating the recent BJP allegations of Congress not caring about the nation's security.
"Does the Congress believe there was a surgical strike or not? Are they saying the video is fake? Do they think the surgical strike was right or not?" Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters, adding that the Congress statements would "gladden the hearts of terrorists and their patrons across the border".
"Please tell me, which election is happening now, or in the near future? There are no elections at the moment," Mr Prasad said, referring to Congress accusation of politicization.
Last week, the minister had verbally flailed the Congress over Ghulam Nabi Azad's statement that "the Indian Army is killing more civilians rather than terrorists" in Jammu and Kashmir.
"There has been a sea change in the Congress's thinking... its commitment to the country's security after Rahul Gandhi elevation as Congress chief," he had asserted, linking controversial statements by Congress leaders to its chief.
Today, he invoked earlier Congress comments on the surgical strikes and the armed forces, claiming it was a desperate attempt by a "fringe party" to gain limelight. "Once Rahul Gandhi called surgical strikes "khoon ka dalali (trading on the sacrifices on soldiers)," he said. "Their leaders have used some very shameful terms against the army chief".
As a video of the surgical strikes emerged yesterday, the Congress accused the ruling BJP of trying to score political points using the footage of army action against terror launch pads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said the BJP "shamelessly" sued surgical strikes to benefit in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election.
"The nation wants to ask them, did Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh boast of the success of army operations during their tenure, just like them?" Mr Surjewala said in of a series of tweets. The nation needs to be cautioned, he said., that "whenever Modi Government starts failing, whenever Amit Shah's BJP start losing, they misuse the valour of the Army for their political benefit".
Another Congress leader, Digvijaya Singh, said surgical strikes were also conducted when the Congress was in power, but the party never took the credit for it.
Questioning a series of Congress attacks, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "BJP asks Cong today - have you become so desperate that u will question the morale of the armed forces?"