Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over surgical strikes along the Line of Control came in for criticism from the BJP and leaders of some other political parties on Friday even as his own party jumped to his defence.
Both the BJP and the Congress accused each other of playing politics over the blood of soldiers.
Concluding his ‘Kisan Yatra’ at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi had accused Modi of “profiteering” from the blood of soldiers who gave their lives for the nation.
BJP president Amit Shah hit back at Gandhi for suggesting that his party was using the Indian Army’s surgical strike across the Line of Control for political gains ahead of crucial assembly elections.
“The use of the word “dalali for soldiers” shows the Congress’ mindset. The word is synonymous with the opposition party whose leaders were embroiled in several scams worth thousands of crores,” Shah said.
The Congress, however, came out all guns blazing at BJP’s condemnation of Gandhi , accusing the saffron party of using the army’s strikes against militant bases for political purposes.
“Those who have murder charges against them, those who have been in the jail, those are now trying to find faults in Rahul Gandhi,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.
“Stop putting up these posters claiming credit -- it was the Indian Army who should be hailed; stop this politics,” he said.
But Rahul Gandhi was slammed for his remark by other political parties as well.
The NCP criticised Gandhi for the barb. “Rahul Gandhi is the leader of the principal opposition party, which is perhaps the oldest organisation in the world. He should have shown refrained from using such words,” party legistator D P Tripathi told reporters.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar had on Thursday supported the government over the surgical strikes, saying it was necessary to teach a lesson to terrorists and those exporting terror.
Shiv Sena too took strong exception to Gandhi’s remarks, terming them as ‘obnoxious’.
Shiv Sena leader Manisha Kayande said, “I think this is a very ‘obnoxious’ statement. But what can you expect from Rahul Gandhi? The person, who is so immature and whatever is happening in the country hardly matters to him. What else can you expect? But I think such sort of statements, sometimes Sonia Gandhi saying ‘Maut ka saudaagar’ and this ‘Khoon ki holi’. What image of the country you create in front of the world?” Kayande said.
“If the Prime Minister is taking all the parties in confidence when he has taken some action then they should definitely boost the morale of the army and the Prime Minister,” she added.
RJD President Lalu Prasad, however, was cautious in his reaction, saying Rahul Gandhi had failed to put across his views properly. “Rahul Gandhi ko apni baat theek se rakhni nahi aai,” Lalu told reporters.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the party’s vice-president for his remarks.
“We strongly condemn Rahul Gandhi’s terming our soldiers’ sacrifices and their valour as ‘khoon ki dalaali’,” Kejriwal said in a video posted on his twitter account.
“I have said this earlier in assembly as well as in a video message that at a time when there’s grave tension at the border, we all must allay our differences and stand together with our army,” he said.
राहुल गांधी जी ने जवानों की शहादत को "ख़ून की दलाली" बोला। ये ठीक नहीं। जवानों ने बहादुरी से surgical strikes किए। मेरी राय - https://t.co/pksW0FEX1S— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 7, 2016
The war of words comes as political temperatures rise following an army operation on militant bases in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir last week. The Opposition says the government is trying to usurp credit ahead of assembly polls next year while the BJP says other parties are insulting the army.
(With inputs from agencies)