2-hour mystery shadows Modi

Congress spokesperson: 'We want to ask the Prime Minister what he was doing between 3.10pm and 5.10pm?'

  • Published 23.02.19, 3:21 AM
  • Updated 23.02.19, 10:45 AM
  • 2 mins read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Prem Singh)

The Congress on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to himself tell the nation what he was doing between 3.10pm and 5.10pm on February 14 when the Pulwama attack took place.

“The Pulwama attack took place at 3.10pm. We want to ask the Prime Minister what he was doing between 3.10pm and 5.10pm? The reason why this question is important is because at 5.10pm, the Prime Minister addressed a rally on his mobile phone. He didn’t utter a word on the Pulwama attack,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said at a news conference.

The party played a video clip of news of the public rally that was shown on Doordarshan on February 14.

“You can see people are shouting slogans and jumping up and down in joy as the Prime Minister addresses the rally. The Prime Minister could have condemned the attack, observed two minutes’ silence to pay tribute to our soldiers. At 5.10pm, he would have known of the attack. That’s why the question: What was the Prime Minister doing between 3.10pm and 5.10pm?” Tewari said.

The Congress leadership has decided to pursue this matter with full force and party president Rahul Gandhi is expected to harp on the Prime Minister’s “insensitivity” and “incompetence” in the coming days.

Rahul tweeted in Hindi on Friday: “The Prime Time Minister kept shooting for a film for three hours after news of the martyrdom of 40 soldiers in Pulwama came. A river of pain erupted in the heart of the country and the homes of martyrs, but he was gleefully in the river for a photoshoot.”

A river of pain erupted in the heart of the country and the homes of martyrs, but he (Modi) was gleefully in the river for a photoshoot.

Rahul Gandhi

At the news conference, Tewari said: “This raises two questions: One, was the Prime Minister aware of the attack and continued with his photoshoot? If yes, there can be no greater insensitivity than this. Then at 5.10pm, he deliberately chooses not to mention a word about the attack. The Prime Minister continues to be Commander Corbett. He has his lunch, shoots some photographs of wild life on his mobile phone and life is absolutely normal for him, while 40 jawans have laid down their lives in one of the most heinous terror attacks the country has seen.”

The Congress spokesperson continued: “The second scenario is even far more frightening. Was it that between 3.10pm and 5.10pm, Modiji was unaware of the terror attack? The PMO did not inform him or he was incommunicado? What does it speak about command and control systems in the highest echelons of the Indian state? We are a nuclear state and if there is a breakdown in communication between the PM and his office, it has very portentous implications.”

Party veteran Ahmed Patel iterated this through a tweet: “It is a matter of grave concern that the Prime Minister was incommunicado at the time of an attack on the nation’s sovereignty.”

Tewari said the Prime Minister’s response betrayed either incompetence or insensitivity, and insisted: “The nation must know from the mouth of the Prime Minister, who otherwise speaks non-stop, ‘what were you doing between 3.10pm and 5.10pm?’ If you knew, why didn’t you mention it at the rally? If you didn’t, can there be greater incompetence?”

The Congress spokesperson also confronted BJP chief Amit Shah for saying that they don’t need to learn nationalism from the Congress. “Does the BJP have monopoly over nationalism?… Is asking tough questions about how so many soldiers died anti-national?” he asked.

The Congress will be happy to debate on terrorism, given the BJP’s track record: Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar was freed by a BJP government and the Parliament attack happened during its rule.

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