BJP-Cong slugfest over Rahul’s ‘khoon ki dalali’ comment
New Delhi: AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi was found once again with his foot firmly in his mouth and unable to wriggle out of his most uncharitable and blatantly unwise comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rahul Gandhi called Modi, ‘khoon ki dalali’ (merchant of blood) for allegedly using the surgical strikes across the border with Pakistan for political gains. Rahul’s remark reminded of his mother Sonia Gandhi who called Modi ‘mauth ka saudagar’.
This comment by Sonia helped Modi to consolidate his hold on the electorate of Gujarat and win successive Assembly elections. Rahul later clarified his comments saying that he had already congratulated the Prime Minister for the surgical strikes and supported the government in that aspect. He was only saying that the government should not try to take political mileage from the sacrifices made by the Army. He said the army should not be there in political posters. He alleged that Modi is dividing the people in the country. He lashed out at the PM for hiding behind the blood of the soldiers.
BJP’s retaliatory attack was led by party president Amit Shah. Addressing a media conference on Friday, he said Rahul Gandhi had crossed all the limits when he made that irresponsible statement. He alleged that Rahul Gandhi and others like him had insulted the jawans of Indian Army whose valor the whole country is praising.
Except Pakistan and the Congress Party, no country or organization in the world ever doubted the fact that the surgical strikes took place. No one insulted the Army men as was done by Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah said.
The courage of the jawans has been highlighted by Indian media. Amit Shah asked Rahul not to demean the sacrifices made by the armed forces. He criticized Rahul for his jibes belittling the jawans. He advised Rahul Gandhi to go back to the newspapers in 1971 to know what the Congress leaders were talking about the victory of Indian forces on East Pakistan and creating Bangladesh. He said Rahul should desist from passing judgments on important issues of which he has no knowledge.
“It is better for him to concentrate his language and politics, Amit Shah said and demanded that Congress president Sonia Gandhi should clarify the stand of her party on surgical strikes.
He said the dalali work is done by the Congress party and his people believe in the slogan ‘Jai Jawan.’ He asked Rahul what dalali he is talking about. From Bofors to 2G scam, it is the Congress which was indulging in dalali, he said. Shah said the statement of Rahul Gandhi indicates the mindset of the Congress party. The BJP party chief has, as usual, taken the credit for the strikes saying that all the BJP leaders and workers were elated over the heroic deeds of the Army jawans.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal in a fight back told the media:
“People who are named in murder cases will tell us that our roots are tainted. I didn’t expect the BJP to stoop so low that its leadership will have to point fingers at those who gave independence. Convicted people are giving lectures; the government has no experience making statements.”
Speaking on BJP’s claim of first surgical strikes, Sibal asked, “Who crossed the LoC in 1965, 71 and 1999? Did Modi, Amit Shah or Parrikar cross the LoC? Does the Indian history start from 2014?” The Congress leader hit out at the BJP for forgetting all these dates in Indian history and accused the BJP of exploiting the Army’s strikes. “We didn’t politicise Kargil,” he declared.
Rahul was condemned by Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi CM himself appealed to the Union government to produce proof of the strikes to make the Pakistani propaganda machine to shut up.
Sanjay Nirupam, a Rahul-loyalist and Maharashtra leader of the Congress Party, commented the other day that he suspects the surgical strikes to be fake. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also expressed doubts about the surgical strikes. However, AICC spokespersons have distanced the party from Chidambaram and Sanjay Nirupam. The latter remarked later that the whole country welcomes surgical strikes but not the fake ones.
The Congress party is visibly worried that the ruling party is taking credit for the surgical strikes and it would have effect on the forthcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Modi was clever enough not to preside over the all-party meeting which was addressed by army officer General Ranbir Singh. Home Minister Rajnath Singh was made to chair the meeting. Modi also advised his party and ministerial colleagues not to boast about surgical strikes. In spite of the advice, Defence Minister Manohar Parrkar and party president Amit Shah kept talking about the strikes in glowing terms and continued to ridicule the main opposition Congress and Kejriwal.
Majority of the mainstream media is also with the ruling party and the PM. Most of the opposition leaders are hesitant to publicly express doubts about the strikes since that would amount to suspecting the Army which at once becomes anti-national. Rahul was perhaps indiscreet in his comments and the timing.