The Telegraph
Friday , June 12 , 2015

Rathore bravado irks govt

New Delhi, June 11: The Narendra Modi establishment and the BJP leadership are upset with Rajyavardhan Rathore, the junior I&B minister, for his chest-thumping over the strikes against militant camps.

Political sources said the government decided to field Rathore, a former colonel, before the media, hoping that his response would be "proper" and not "overly political", not to say "triumphal".

He was told to stick to the letter and spirit of a nuanced statement the army had issued that day.

However, the establishment sat up after Rathore tweeted with more than a sense of bravado on hash tags such as #56inch Rocks and #Manipur Revenge. The "56 inch" was obviously an allusion to Modi's campaign-trail references to what it takes to run India.

Not only was Rathore told to pipe down, the BJP's spokespersons were directed to speak "economically" and confine themselves to responses to the Opposition's criticism.

Therefore, when Congress leader Anand Sharma went hammer and tongs at the ruling establishment for extracting political capital out of an army venture, BJP spokesperson Shrikant Sharma said: "The Congress should stop speaking the language of Pakistan on terrorism, on issues concerning national security."

That did not prevent defence minister Manohar Parrikar from speaking up today.

Sources said the cacophony underlined the need for a media apparatus geared to fashion "appropriate" responses from the government.

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