Maharashtra Congress minister says Sharad Pawar should have advised PM Modi instead of Rahul Gandhi on China
Nitin Raut’s retort to Sharad Pawar over the China issue includes a reference to Pawar’s tenure as the country’s defence minister in the past.Updated: Jun 30, 2020 22:16 IST
Maharashtra Congress leader and a minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government in the state, Nitin Raut, has reignited the political controversy around NCP chief and veteran politician Sharad Pawar’s statement reminding the Congress of the 1962 war with China while advising against alleged politicization of the recent Chinese incursions.
Sharad Pawar reference to the 1962 war, when large tracts of land were occupied by the Chinese, was widely seen as a sharp disapproval of the Congress party’s continuous allegations that the BJP-led Central government in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular, had surrendered Indian territory to China by refusing to acknowledge the intrusions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since May this year.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been leading those attacks. since the June 15 violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, where 20 soldiers were killed along with an unspecified number of Chinese casualties.
Nitin Raut today attacked Pawar over the statement given last Saturday on June 26.
“When China captured our territory in 1962, the situation was different. Sharad Pawar should have rectified his mistakes when he was the defence minister under Congress rule. Instead of commenting on Rahul Gandhi’s remark, he should’ve advised the PM to speak on the issue,” Raut was quoted as having said.
The Congress, the NCP are in an alliance with Shiv Sena, which is heading the three-party coalition Maharashtra government and Raut’s remarks against Pawar are relevant in that context.
“We can’t forget what had happened in 1962 when China occupied 45,000 square kilometres of India’s territory. While making these allegations, one should also look at what had happened in the past. This is an issue of national interest and once should not bring in politics here,” Pawar had said while answering a question over Rahul Gandhi’s attacks on PM Modi over the issue.
Raut’s statement follows a much milder reaction from the state Congress chief and state revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat. Thorat, on Sunday, had said that no conclusion should be drawn by using just one of Pawar’s comments and it didn’t amount to “a clean chit” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
“We lost 20 soldiers in the Galwan valley face off. Yet, PM Modi said there was no intrusion by China. Taking advantage of this Chinese are calling our martyrs as intruders. I am sure that even Pawar saheb is as saddened by this as we are this as are,” Thorat had said.
He had added that the Congress party was discharging its responsibility by asking questions on the issues of national interest. He also said that there was no comparison between the 1962 situation and the current clashes with the Chinese army at the LAC.
Earlier today, an editorial in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana alleged that the Narendra Modi-government was focusing more on responding to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi instead of giving a befitting reply to China for infiltration and killing Indian soldiers in Ladakh.