New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) The Congress on Monday accused the ruling BJP of trying to encash the valour of the Indian Army to get votes and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad must apologise publicly.
Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said that it was the soldiers who were making sacrifices for the nation but ministers in the Narendra Modi government were trying to grab all the credit for the surgical strikes through “posters and hoardings”.
“Jaan ki qurbani sainik de aur 100 inch ka seena Modi ji ka ho (It is the soldier who is sacrificing his life but it is the chest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that is swelling with pride to 100 inches),” Surjewala said referring to the surgical military strikes the Indian army carried out in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on September 29.
“The BJP is insulting the 68 years’ saga of bravery and valour of the Indian Army by saying that the Indian Army could strike across the Line of Control (LoC) for the first time, and by saying that the army was like Hanuman who did not know its prowess.
“The BJP is shamelessly using the valour and sacrifice of our brave soldiers in order to garner votes,” he added.
Attacking Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president and Modi, Surjewala said: “Amit Shah said that for the first time Indian Army carried out surgical strike across LoC. And we will take it across the country. So it’s clear that they want to use it for political gains.
“Even on October 9, Modiji joined the bandwagon and tried to take political advantage of the surgical strikes carried out by our forces… It is a crime by Modiji by giving political colour to surgical strikes.”
Surjewala’s remarks came in the political war over the surgical strikes that came in wake of the September 18 terror attack on the Indian army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri town, leaving 19 soldiers dead.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, concluding his ‘Kisan Yatra’ here on October 6, had accused Prime Minister Modi of playing politics over the blood of soldiers.
Surjewala also hit out at the government for denying that surgical strikes were also carried out earlier.
“The army carried out Operation Ginger across LoC in 2011 and it was revealed by Maj Gen Sanjay K. Chakravorty (retd),” he said, noting that several other generals have also said that such strikes took place.
“Congress never publicised the surgical strikes for votes, and those who wanted answers were instead given a befitting reply by our brave army,” he said.
He said the armed forces give their lives for the country’s 125 million people, not for any political party and asked the government to learn from families of martyrs who urged them not to politicise the martyrdom.
Questioning the Modi government’s attitudes, he said: “On one hand, there is a competition to take credit for the surgical strikes while on the other, the government is discriminating against the forces. We want to ask Modiji that instead of One Rank One Pension, why did he launch One Rank, Many Pensions.”
Asking why the government didn’t accept the service chiefs’ recommendations for the Seventh Pay Commission, Surjewala also sought to know why disability pension to the forces was reduced on September 30 – a day after the strikes.
“Modiji, Amit Shah and Parrikar must apologise to the nation for using the armed forces for political gains and commit that they will never repeat such practice in future,” he demamnded and also sought rollback of the order reducing disability pensions.