|BJP president Rajnath Singh and Kirron Kher at a rally at Ramlila ground on Sunday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha
New Delhi, Aug. 11: Jammu appears to have offered the BJP fresh political ammunition to corner the Centre in Parliament, both over the killing of five soldiers near the LoC and communal clashes in another pocket.
Both Houses were stalled last week over defence minister A.K. Antony’s alleged “contradictory” statements on the killing of the Indian soldiers by the Pakistan Army.
The attack in Poonch, coupled with communal clashes in and around Kishtwar, 230km north of Jammu town, have catalysed the next round of the BJP’s offensive.
Indications of that emerged today in the speeches of BJP chief Rajnath Singh and the party’s putative prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.
Both speeches suggested the principal Opposition party would demand that the Centre declare unambiguously if Manmohan Singh would speak to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the margins of the UN General Assembly meet next month in New York.
Rajnath, addressing a rally in Delhi this morning, asked how long the Congress would “keep up the charade of wanting a dialogue with Pakistan” and referred to the beheading of an Indian soldier earlier this year.
“I had told the PM that we should reply in kind. I advised him to scale down our diplomatic ties with Islamabad but it seems he was unaffected. The PM has adopted a path of conciliation. So even if five of our jawans were slain last week, he is determined to talk to Nawaz Sharif,” Rajnath, also a Lok Sabha MP, said.
The theme was echoed at a rally Modi addressed in Hyderabad. “You had vowed after our soldiers were decapitated that you will not brook another recurrence. Why then is the country being forced to silently tolerate the atrocities that Pakistan is inflicting on it?” Modi asked in a question directed at Manmohan Singh.
On the Kishtwar communal flare-up, the BJP tried to build a theory that Jammu and Kashmir’s National Conference- Congress government was plotting a second purge of Hindus after Kashmiri Pandits were driven from the Valley years ago by secessionists.
The allegations came after Arun Jaitley was not allowed to step out of Jammu airport after the leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha reached there to visit the trouble spots.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah had insinuated earlier that the BJP was out to make political capital from the communal clashes and he had, therefore, had banned the entry of politicians into Kishtwar.
The restrictions on Jaitley prompted Modi to tweet if the Omar-led government wanted to conceal the “truth”. Modi was more direct in his Hyderabad speech. “Such an occurrence in the hilly tracts of Jammu is not simple. It smacks of a familiar pattern. The problems for many in Kashmir began in the same way and, eventually, such persons were forced out of the Valley.”