Why is PM lying on China: Rahul
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that Lord Ram’s “unwavering commitment to truth, honesty and righteousness” would be the source of national inspiration, his main rival Rahul Gandhi had occasion to confront him with a blunt question on why he is “lying”.
The Congress leader was referring to media reports of a defence ministry document on Chinese intrusions at several places in Ladakh, an admission that runs counter to the Prime Minister’s claim that none had encroached into Indian territory or captured Indian posts.
Uploading a media report on the defence ministry document uploaded on Wednesday and citing “unilateral aggression by China” since May 5 and transgressions, Rahul tweeted: “Why is the Prime Minister lying?”
Four days after 20 Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese at the Galwan Valley, Modi had told an all-party meeting on June 19: “Na wahan koi hamari seema mein ghus aaya hai aur na hi koi ghusa hua hai, na hi hamari koi post kisi dusre ke kabje mein hai (Neither has anyone intruded into our frontier there, neither is any intruder there, nor is any of our posts occupied by someone else).”
The Congress couldn’t have prayed for a better opportunity to drag the Prime Minister out of the blinding triumphalism of Hindutva that the start of the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya has heralded barely hours earlier.
Shortly after Rahul’s tweets and the media reports, the suspicions deepened when the document could no longer be found on the defence ministry website, providing the Congress leader another opportunity to open fire.
Uploading a media report on the document disappearing from the website, Rahul tweeted: “Forget standing up to China, India’s Prime Minister lacks the courage even to name them. Denying China is in our territory and removing documents from websites won’t change the facts.”
Rahul raised the matter again during the day while interacting with leaders from Bihar through videoconferencing.
He emphasised that the Prime Minister had lied to the nation on Chinese intrusions and put even the Indian Army in a difficult spot by claiming that nobody had intruded into Indian territory.
The former Congress president also dwelt on the disastrous economic situation, the mismanagement of the Covid crisis and the alarming unemployment situation while motivating party workers for the impending elections in Bihar.
Other Congress seniors also moved in swiftly, bringing the discourse back to issues of vital national concern like the Chinese incursions, Jammu and Kashmir, the economy, jobs and even politics unconnected with religion and divinity.
Party spokesperson Ajay Maken said at a media conference: “The Prime Minister should explain how the report vanished from the defence ministry website. Was it done to save the Prime Minister or any other reason prompted the withdrawal of the report?”
He went on: “Though the facts about Chinese intrusions were known to the entire world — military commanders’ negotiations with the Chinese and satellite pictures made it absolutely clear — the Prime Minister’s June 19 statement and flip-flops by the government created confusion. But this was an official confirmation by the defence minister as the report had a section on Chinese transgressions. It also said the standoff might be prolonged.”
Maken asked why the Prime Minister had made the claims when official records make it clear that the Chinese had entered Indian territory as early as May 17-18.
“What is true — what the defence ministry said or what the Prime Minister said?” the Congress spokesperson asked.
Asked if defence minister Rajnath Singh, who had raised the Chinese encroachment during a visit to Ladakh last month, should resign over the flip-flops, Maken said: “The defence minister had publicly talked of the intrusions and even said there was no guarantee of disengagement. We want a clarification from the Prime Minister.”
The Congress also criticised Modi for comparing the temple movement with India’s freedom struggle.
Senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge said: “The Prime Minister’s comparison of India’s freedom struggle and the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in equal measure is untenable. The freedom struggle had united all of us irrespective of caste and creed, while the other movement was meant to polarise and divide the society. Nationalism cannot be driven through religion.”