Questions on Balakot airstrike part of Congress's appeasement politics: Amit Shah
BJP chief Amit Shah today insinuated that by raising questions on the Balakot airstrike, the Congress was trying 'politics of appeasement'.
Naming Congress overseas wing chief Sam Pitroda, he said the statement made by him recently was 'worrying'.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had singled out a tweet by Pitroda on the Balakot airstrike.
“The most trusted advisor and guide of the Congress president has kick-started the Pakistan National Day celebrations on behalf of the Congress, ironically by demeaning India’s armed forces,” Modi’s tweet said.
The tweet was in response to an earlier quote of Pitroda to ANI that said: “Eight people (26/11 terrorists) come and do something; you don’t jump on entire nation (Pakistan). Naive to assume that just because some people came here & attacked, every citizen of that nation is to be blamed. I don’t believe in that way.”
In reaction to the Prime Minister's tweet, Pitroda said yesterday: 'All I said is, can we get more facts, that's all. I don't know why this whole confusion... In democracy you are entitled to ask a question. It is good to have a debate, discussion, dialogue, discourse.... My asking a question should not create the kind of reaction it has created, even at the level of the Prime Minister. I am baffled.'
Shah's news conference in which he named Pitroda is an indication that the BJP wants to milk the issue more to embarass the Congress by bringing the charge of 'appeasement politics' to secure the votes of minorities.
The BJP chief said the Congress president should clarify if he thinks that the Pulwama attack is a 'mamooli ghatna (a regular incident)' and asked how the Congress's approach or talks, not surgical strikes, had helped the country.
He said the Congress always chose appeasement politics for vote banks before elections. 'Parantu, kya votebank ki rajniti desh hith se upar ho sakti hai? Kya vote bank ki rajniti shaheedon ke khoon se upar ho sakti hai (Is vote bank politics more important than the interests of the country? Is vote bank politics more important than the blood of soldiers)?' the BJP chief asked.
So far, no Opposition leader has called the Pulwama attack 'mamooli ghatna'. Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav has raised questions on how the attack could have happened and, according to an ANI tweet, said there was 'sazish (a conspiracy)' behind the Pulwama attack on the CRPF personnel, 40 of whom were killed in the fidayeen car bomb attack on February 14.
On the Balakot airstrike, Pitroda, in his interview to ANI had said: 'Eight people (26/11 terrorists) come and do something; you don’t jump on the entire nation (Pakistan). Naive to assume that just because some people came here & attacked, every citizen of that nation is to be blamed. I don’t believe in that way.” Pitroda had also questioned the vague claims of damage that the government made after the Balakot airstrikes. '“If you say 300 people were killed (in Balakot), we all need to know that, all Indians need to know that. Then comes the global media which says nobody was killed, (and) I look bad as an Indian citizen.”
BJP leaders and ministers had cited several casualty figures, from 250 to 400.
Shah repeatedly said the Congress chief should apologise for Pitroda's comments to the country and to the forces.
The BJP chief also said that on March 7, the Congress chief had demanded that the questions raised regarding the airstrike should be answered. 'Kiske jawab chahte hain aap? Kaun sawal utha raha hai? Air force par sawal uthane ka kaam kaun kar raha hai (Whose answer do you want? Who is raising such questions? Who is questioning our air force)?' Shah asked with a frown, then added that such conduct is unbecoming of a national party chief.