Congress alleges PM busy in film shot in Corbett; BJP hits back
BJP says oppn has shown its ‘true colours’ after maintaining "facade" of standing with the govt
New Delhi: Gloves were off on Thursday between the Congress and the BJP over the Pulwama strike, with the opposition party citing media reports to allege that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy shooting for a film in the Corbett National Park on February 14 till hours after the attack, and the ruling party hitting back saying they have "no face" to raise questions on Modi's nationalism.
After maintaining a silence for nearly a week over the terror strike that killed 40 CRPF personnel, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala addressed a press conference to claim that the Prime Minister continued to "have tea, samosas, at seven o'clock in a PWD guest house when every single Indian household didn't eat food".
He also accused BJP president Amit Shah of indulging in "politicisation of terrorism" in his speech in Assam on Sunday.
Sharply reacting to Surjewala's comments, BJP chief said it was condemnable that the Congress has "politicised" the Pulwama attack, and asserted that people have full trust in Modi's commitment to root out terrorism.
The BJP president also asked with what face the Congress was raising questions against the Prime Minister.
Slamming the Congress for targeting the Prime Minister on the Pulwama attack, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dubbed its allegations "shameful" and said they have exposed the party's "true colours" after it kept a "facade" of standing with security forces and the government following the terror strike.
"Congress called the Army chief names, it raised doubts over the surgical strikes (on terror havens in Pakistan), it accused the prime minister of trading with soldiers' blood, Congress' (Navjot Singh) Sidhu embraced Pakistan Army chief, the previous Congress president cried when terrorists were killed," the BJP chief said.
Reacting to Shah's remarks, Surjewala said he should not forget that it was a Congress government that taught Pakistan a lesson in 1947, in 1965 and in 1971.
At the press conference, the Congress chief spokesperson also alleged that "in his hunger for power, the prime minister has forgotten 'raj dharma' (duty of governance)."
Citing reports in some Hindi dailies, Surjewala gave a timeline of events saying the terror attack happened at 3:10 pm on February 14 with the Congress reacting to it at 5:15 pm.
But, the prime minister was "busy" in film shooting and photo shoots till hours after the attack, he claimed.
"The prime minister also knew about it (the attack). Yet the Prime Minister, a person who claims himself to be a nationalist, continues to shoot a film (for Discovery Channel) for self propagation in the Corbett National Park in Ramnagar," he claimed.
Surjewala alleged that Modi continued to "enjoy boat rides" with the camera crew and later ensured that there was slogan shouting by BJP people praising him.
On the one hand the country was picking up the "pieces of our martyrs", and on the other the Prime Minister was busy in his "propaganda and publicity", Surjewala claimed.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi claimed that jawans killed in the Pulwama attack are denied the status of martyrs but the PM "gifts" Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani for him to "live happily ever after".
Surjewala said the Congress had shown restrain on the direction of party president Gandhi, but it was important to raise issues of such conduct that "insults martyrs".
"Why has Prime Minister Modi, the NSA (Ajit Doval) & the Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) not owned responsibility for the unpardonable failure of National Security & Intelligence apparatus?" he said.
He said the government needs to answer questions on alleged failure of intelligence, and on how did local militants get RDX and M4 carbines.
"Why did you ignore a video released by Jaish-e-Mohammad 48 hours before? Why couldn't you airlift troops? Is it more expensive than the lives of our jawans?" Surjewala asked.
Shah, at the BJP event, said Kashmir remained an unresolved issue only because former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru did not handle it properly which has led to the present situation in the Valley where Pakistan is indulging in terror acts.