iconimg Saturday, August 01, 2015

Press Trust Of India
Kochi, March 30, 2014
BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said he does not consider defence minister AK Antony as 'Pak agent and enemy of India'. "Antony is my friend. He is not a Pak agent," Naidu told reporters in Kochi when asked about Narendra Modi's remark describing AK Antony and Arvind Kejriwal as "agents of Pakistan and enemy of India."

Blaming media for 'misinterpreting' Modi's speech at a public meeting in Jammu on March 26, Naidu said "Modi never said Antony is a Pak agent.

Read: Modi's 'AK' comment an insult to armed forces: Antony

Media only misinterpreted Modi's statement," he said, adding, "we do not have any prejudice against Antony." He claimed that the unity and integrity of the country had been affected under the leadership of prime minister, Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and defence minister Antony.

Read: Kejriwal responds to Modi's 'AK 49' barb, says Gujarat CM using foul language

China had intruded into Indian territory, 16 helipads had been constructed, Arunachal Pradesh is being shown by China as part of its territory, Indian jawans had been beheaded and government had failed to act, he said. Likening Antony to a cook who did not know cooking, Naidu said Antony had failed to take crucial decisions.

On Jaswant singh filing nomination as independent candidate from Balmer, Naidu said "it is unfortunate that in the spur of anger, he has decided to contest as an independent candidate." Singh, a former defence and external affairs minister, was given all respect, and he should follow party line, he said. Asked if BJP would persuade him to withdraw nomination, Naidu said "let us see."

Questioned about BJP sidelining senior leaders like LK Advani, Naidu said there was no question of sidelining Advani. "He is the tallest leader of the party."    

Asked about the controversy over former JD (U) MP Sabir Ali's induction into BJP, Naidu evaded the question saying "I have not got the details."