With the elections nearing, the Congress’ is now focusing on highlighting its anti-terrorism credentials to counter the BJP’s charge that the UPA government was “soft” on terror.
Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday unveiled a roadmap to strengthen anti-terror mechanism if voted back to power. The strategy paper, titled ‘The Congress Party’s Pledge — Protecting India From terror’ was released a day after serial blasts rocked Assam.
He shared the credit for measures taken with his predecessor and said he had put many steps initiated by Shivraj Patil on the fast track.
To stay prepared to respond to 26/11 type terror strikes, the party promised to set up a “War Room’, which would provide operational oversight and control during threats or events, and also function as a 24-hour watch-post or monitoring centre. The Cabinet Secretary would head the Permanent Crisis Management Group, he said.
Adding:“Congress is alive to challenges posed by terrorism and can provide a strong leadership to fight the scourge.”
The document also underlined the party’s approach to greater use of technology, more and better equipped security forces, better intelligence and analytical capabilities besides speedy investigations and trials. “If we do not vanquish communal agendas... we cannot hope to vanquish terrorism,” he said.
Taking on the BJP-led NDA government for its “so-called muscular” policies, the Congress said India has paid a heavy price for “the stupor in Kargil, surrender in Kandahar and stalemate in Operation Parakram”. The party also attacked BJP leader LK Advani for the “callous and utter neglect” in recruitment of the Indian Police Service during 1998-2004 when he was the home minister. “This has created critical gap in our security infrastructure...”, Chidambaram said.