The erstwhile BJP-led government took the “painful and difficult” decision to free terrorists in lieu for release of hostages during the Kandahar hijack crisis through consensus, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said on Friday.
“It was a painful and difficult decision. We had to choose between two wrongs. We chose the lesser wrong,” Sinha told reporters at Maharashtra BJP office in south Mumbai.
“A consensus did emerge after several views were expressed, not only in cabinet but there was also a national consensus that the 166 hostages be brought home whatever the cost,” he said.
On the Congress’ criticism of the way the then NDA regime handled the whole crisis, Sinha said, “if Congress or others questioning our action have the guts they should declare that had they been in power, they would have left the 166 hostages to die in Kandahar.”
Sinha recalled that the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, who later escorted the terrorists to Kandahar, had said there was a “free and frank” discussion with several parties on the issue.