LoC ambush: new aggressive stance by BJP due to 'Modi effect'?
The killing of 5 Indian soldiers by Pakistanis late on Monday night saw the Opposition BJP's fresh strategy to corner the UPA government on its policies both inside and outside Parliament ahead of the 2014 polls. Shekhar Iyer reports.delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2013 22:01 IST
The killing of 5 Indian soldiers by Pakistanis late on Monday night saw the Opposition BJP's fresh strategy to corner the UPA government on its policies both inside and outside Parliament ahead of the 2014 polls, in tune with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's often-repeated emphasis for turning the mood against the Congress.
It was no coincidence that, as senior BJP leaders quizzed the government in Parliament, Modi tweeted outside: "From China's intrusions to Pakistan's ambushes - UPA government has been absolutely lax in securing Indian borders. When will the Centre wake up?"
Modi was apparently in touch with a key central BJP leader through the day as several BJP leaders asserted India must not resume talks with Pakistan.
In fact, inside Parliament, BJP leaders Arun Jaitely and Yashwant Sinha were at their aggressive best.
Some BJP leaders even believed that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's statement later that India could not be cowed down by such "blatant acts of deceit" and Rahul Gandhi's demand for "appropriate" measures "at the highest level" was prompted by their aggressive stance.
By evening, BJP's youth wing chief and MP Anurag Thakur led a demonstration outside defence minister AK Antony's residence to protest the killings.
Jaitely, who is leader of the opposition, set the opposition mood in the Rajya Sabha, saying that Antony's contention that the attack was carried out by "persons dressed in Pakistan army uniform" gave "an escape route" to Pakistan which has always been in a state of denial, even in Kargil where it said 'non-State actors' were involved.
As he put it, "when the minister says something so ambiguous like 'people dressed in army uniforms' it gives Pakistan a route of escape."
Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha said in the Lok Sabha that "the government should clarify - is the Congress with Pakistan or India?" He also said his party was of the view that any talks with Pakistan should not be at the prime ministerial level in the wake of the attack.
"Since January, there have been continuous attacks.. our Army, this Parliament, this country has the strength...we should respond back in the same way," Sinha said.
Similarly, demanding a "befitting reply", Jaitley put forth the BJP line that there is a "need to modulate our foreign policy to send a message to Pakistan that these kinds of attacks will not be tolerated."
"These incidents are not taking place in isolation. We had incidents of soldiers being beheaded, we had Sarabjit (Singh, who died in a Pakistan prison)... we have a series of incidents of cross border terrorism," Jaitley said after Antony made a suo moto statement on the incident.
Jaitely, who also mentioned about repeated incursions by Chinese troops, said, "We cannot make a spectacle of ourselves in the world that we are the willing recipients of such attacks," he said.
Earlier in the day, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Yashwant Sinha, Murli Manohar Joshi and Shahnawz Hussain met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to demand a discussion on the killings. Later, Hussain said: "The government should have a policy that if even a single bullet is fired, there should be no talks."
Even as the Congress rejected the criticism of any weak handling of the situation, BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad asked how many more brave Indian soldiers needed to be sacrificed. Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said, "The government has been very soft on Pakistan. They are being violent and our government is silent..It is a state policy of Pakistan... to cripple India...India should immediately stop all talks with Pakistan. Relations with neighbours cannot be maintained from one side only."
First Published: Aug 06, 2013 21:50 IST