New Delhi, Aug. 14: The Congress wants Narendra Modi to make an admission during his Independence Day speech tomorrow: that he should not have made “irresponsible statements” on sensitive foreign policy matters in the days before he became Prime Minister.
Former foreign minister and Congress spokesperson Salman Khurshid referred to Modi’s strident rhetoric on Pakistan and China in the past and contrasted it with the NDA government’s stand on issues involving the neighbours.
Modi and other BJP leaders used to say that terror and talks could not go together, Khurshid said, and yet the secretary-level dialogue with Pakistan was being resumed now despite intensified ceasefire violations.
The Congress leader also cited Modi’s constant digs at China’s “expansionist” attitude in the past — and his current silence on continued intrusions.
“Modi said on August 11, 2013, that people had lost faith in the government as Delhi was blind to Chinese incursions due to vote-bank politics,” Khurshid said.
“He said the Chinese intrusion could be seen even on Google map. He can now see the Google map and tell the nation about it tomorrow. Or he should admit he made irresponsible remarks before becoming Prime Minister. He should admit he didn’t understand the sensitivities of the issues.”
Khurshid said that Chinese incursions had happened even on July 15 — when Modi was meeting his Chinese counterpart at the BRICS summit in Brazil — and July 22.
“Our Prime Minister was in Leh (on Tuesday) and there he talked about a proxy war by Pakistan. The context in Leh should have been the intrusions by China. He didn’t utter a word (on the subject),” the Congress leader said.
“The BJP had been identifying China as India’s main enemy. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj talked of the possibility of a 1962-like situation when intrusions happened in our time (during Congress rule). (But recently) home minister Rajnath Singh talked of differing perceptions about the Line of (Actual) Control — there was a huge storm in Parliament when I had said the same thing.”
Asked whether the Congress wanted the government to abandon the secretary-level talks with Pakistan, Khurshid said: “We don’t want to take tough positions and behave irresponsibly.”
He went on: “The BJP’s irresponsible behaviour hurt the nation not only on foreign policy but every sphere of governance. They didn’t allow us to do any legislative business. We don’t want to behave like that.”
He added: “But we expect the government to tell the nation whether Pakistan has taken some measures to satisfy us which has persuaded them (New Delhi) to talk (to Islamabad).”
The Congress has been digging up Modi’s tweets and remarks on sundry issues to argue that he had misled voters by his tough talk.
“Parliament is functioning because of us, not the government. We played the role of constructive Opposition while the BJP had adopted the policy of obstructionism,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
“In this session, the allotted time for work was 135 hours. There was disruption for 34 hours but (Parliament) worked 38 hours extra to make up for the lost time. In the last six sessions (under UPA rule), the BJP didn’t allow any work in most of the sessions.”
The Congress tonight suspended rebel MP Chaudhary Birender Singh and former CWC member Jagmeet Brar for “gross indiscipline”. Brar had suggested that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul hand over the party’s reins to someone else while they tour the country to reconnect with the masses. Singh had revolted against Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and met BJP chief Amit Shah.