Slamming Pakistan for encouraging terror and failing to act against the perpetrators of the Mumbai strikes, the Congress and the BJP on Sunday accused each other of failing to take on terrorism effectively. At party conventions, the two sides projected themselves as better equipped to handle the threat posed by terror.
India’s restraint should not be seen as its weakness, said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at a convention of party workers in New Delhi. “Those across the border who are giving encouragement to terrorism will be given a befitting reply,” she said. Reminding the neighbouring country of the war that led to the creation of Bangladesh, Sonia said, “Indiraji is our inspiration.” Indira Gandhi was the prime minister when the two countries went to war in 1971.
“All our options are open,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, adding India was not helpless and will confront the menace with “courage and fortitude”.
Both the leaders hit out at the BJP. Terrorism can be countered only when the nation presents a united front, said Sonia.
“Parties which have a divisive agenda, refuse to accept the country’s plural character…mobilize people on religious lines and repeatedly invoke Lord Ram’s name to mislead people cannot be an effective instrument to fight terrorism,’’ she said.
The Congress, she said, had extended support to the NDA in the face of terrorist strikes, but the BJP sought to inflame passions and obstruct parliamentary and assembly proceedings.
In Nagpur, the BJP's national council called for snapping of ties with Pakistan. The conclave adopted a resolution, moved by party leader Arun Jaitley, which demanded that “all those responsible for the 26/11 attacks and also those who conspired and abetted the strikes must be handed over to India.” Jaitely attacked the UPA for its “soft approach”. “The country has become vulnerable during the UPA rule. The Mumbai attacks were planned with military precision under the guidance of Pakistani establishments and the ISI.”