Rahul snubs Sandeep Dikshit, says politicians need not comment on army chief
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Rahul snubs Sandeep Dikshit, says politicians need not comment on army chief

Congress’ Sandeep Dikshit had said the Indian Army had depth and that it was a great institution, but he didn’t think General Bipin Rawat lived up to it.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2017 21:33 IST
Rahul Gandhi,Bipin Rawat,Indian Army
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi being welcomed by Karnataka chief minister Siddaramiah on his arrival at HAL Airport in Bengaluru on Monday. (PTI)

Congress vice president president Rahul Gandhi said on Monday politicians need not comment on the army chief, apparently snubbing a party leader who stoked a controversy for saying General Bipin Rawat should not behave like a “roadside goon”.

The Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party launched a spirited attack on the principal opposition party after Sandeep Dikshit’s remarks, saying the Congress had shown a “consistent pattern” in undermining democratic institutions.

The Congress was quick to distance itself after the row erupted on Sunday, and a party spokesperson said they respected the army.

Even Dikshit apologised for his comments, but that did not stop the BJP from seeking Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s apology.

“It feels our army chief speaks like a roadside thug. While this is expected from Pakistan who are like the mafia, why does our own chief make such pronouncements,” Dikshit had said.

General Rawat, in a recent interview to PTI, had defended army Major Leetul Gogoi’s act of tying a Kashmiri man to his jeep and using him as a “human shield” against stone-pelters in the Valley.

“I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then, I would have been happy. Then, I could do what I (wanted to do),” he had said.

The army chief’s comments had come under criticism from various quarters, including mainstream political parties such as the Left parties and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.

But Dikshit’s comments on the army chief drew flak from Union ministers Kiren Rijiju and Nirmala Sitharaman.

At a press conference on Monday, Sitharaman said: “There is no sense of apology in his tweets. No less than Congress president Sonia Gandhi should come out and apologise,” Sitharaman said.

Calling Dikshit, a former Lok Sabha MP, an eminent leader and well-known face, she said the Congress should disown him for trying to shame and demoralise the Army.

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 17:23 IST