Congress and BJP spar over maritime security
Congress and BJP on Sunday traded charges on the issue of maritime security after Congress raked up the issue of a multi-crore seizure of heroin off the Kenyan coast which is said to have been transported by a ship that originated from Gujarat.
While Congress sought to punch holes in Narendra Modi’s claims of providing strong national security and said the seizure exposed ‘total laxity’ of his government, BJP hit back charging the Congress of doing ‘sinister politics’.
It also alleged the Congress-led Centre of inaction on its part to secure the country’s vast coastline despite the 2009 Mumbai attacks and said it was the job of the central agencies to take care of coastal security. It also charged the Centre with inaction in setting up immigration checkposts at ports despite the Gujarat government’s requests.
Congress alleged that heroin worth Rs 1,600 crore seized by Australian maritime force off the Kenya coast last month originated from Gujarat and contested Modi’s claims of providing strong national security.
‘For Modi, national security is nothing but a stick for political gain... it is something to whip up jingoism and chest thumping,’ Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, adding the recent incident has shown how ‘hollow’ his claims are.The BJP defended the Modi government, saying it is true that the ship owner was a Gujarati but said the ship was taken on rent and everything done was ‘legitimate’.
‘The responsibility for drugs control and anti-smuggling is done by central agencies. The state government just plays a coordinating role. There cannot be more sinister politics than this. Government of India is protecting Pakistan and denigrating its own state of Gujarat,’ BJP Spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said.
She said to do politics on an issue that is linked to the national interest especially at the time of elections, ‘is like doing sinister politics’. . ‘If this is not sinister politics, then what is sinister politics. People who are not interested in security of India and who play politics on it, have no right to be in power even for a single minute,’ Lekhi said attacking the Congress for raising the issue a day before the last phase of polling.