Cong fires Modi's questions at Modi

Rahul Gandhi in Bidar, Karnataka, on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said Indian soldiers were paying with their blood for the "opportunistic" BJP-Peoples Democratic Party alliance and a "non-existent Kashmir policy", ripping into the government after back-to-back attacks left half a dozen troopers dead over the past three days.

"1. PDP says 'talks with Pakistan'. 2. BJP Defence Minister says 'Pakistan will pay the price.' While our soldiers pay with their blood for BJP-PDP opportunistic alliance and non-existent Kashmir policy, Modi ji dithers," the Congress president tweeted.

The Congress reflected the same sentiment at a media conference hours later, asking how the BJP could run with the hare and hunt with the hound as the conflicting views of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman demonstrated a policy confusion.

"Why is the coalition continuing?" Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said. "We ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain his position on the suggestion given by the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister to talk to Pakistan. We are deeply concerned as our soldiers are dying daily. There have been 206 major terror strikes in the past 45 months since the Modi government took over. The number of ceasefire violations since then is 2,274."

Tewari accused the central government of hypocrisy and false bravado about a robust approach. "They say talks and terror cannot go together. But then the two national security advisers secretly meet to talk on terror," he said, alluding to the December 27 talks in Thailand between Ajit Dovaland Nasser Khan Janjua.

"When will the action begin to root out terror that was promised by the Prime Minister? So far, what we have seen is U-turns, flip-flops and somersaults. The whole approach is characterised by a litany of errors."

Asked if the Congress advocated resumption of talks between the neighbours, he said: "We can respond only if a concrete policy framework is clearly enunciated by the government. We don't know the government's mind. Apart from the contradictions in the Jammu and Kashmir government, what we saw at the Centre is an invitation to (then Pakistan Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif for (Modi's) swearing-in ceremony, Modi's unscheduled visit to Pakistan (on Sharif's birthday in 2015), invitation to the ISI to inspect the Pathankot airbase (following the January 2016 attack), (and) talks on and off."

Tewari posted an old video on his Twitter handle that shows Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, asking the then Manmohan Singh government at the Centre five questions.

"1. How do the terrorists get arms and ammunition when the Centre controls the borders? 2. Where from the funding comes when the central government controls money transaction channels? 3. How terrorists infiltrate when the Centre has BSF, army and navy? 4. Why can't their talks be intercepted with the Centre having control over the communication system? 5. Why are terrorists running anti-India operations from foreign countries not extradited?"

After asking these questions, Modi says: "The Delhi sultanate does not have the answer to my questions. The Centre should stop doing politics by encroaching upon the rights of the states. If they can do these five things, terror can be rooted out. But they can't do these things - you need a 56-inch chest to do these things."

Tewari said: "Modiji had asked some questions which are relevant and germane to the problem of terrorism even today. Now that Modi has become the Prime Minister and has held the office for 45 months, he should answer these questions in the context of his own track record."


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