Mumbai, Oct 5 (IANS) Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam on Wednesday came under attack from various quarters over his tweets on Tuesday raising doubts about the Indian Army’s recent ‘surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control (LoC).
While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena hit back at him and even demanded his arrest under sedition charges, sections of the faction-ridden Congress also took potshots with some demanding his removal from the city top post.
Members of civil society boycotted a meeting convened by Nirupam on the issue of open spaces in the city, forcing the party to cancel it at the last minute without assigning any reason.
The meeting was considered crucial against the backdrop of the upcoming elections to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation after three months in which the ruling allies BJP-Sena face a tough challenge from Congress-Nationalist Congress Party and other opposition outfits.
Some of the speakers scheduled to attend and address the meeting included former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, Anandini Thakur, RTI activist Bhaskar Prabhu and other prominent activists from different fields.
However, Nirupam remained unruffled and hit back accusing the BJP of trying to extract political mileage out of a national security matter with an eye to upcoming state assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Punjab.
“The BJP’s political tamasha over national security is on. Raksha Mantri (Manohar) Parrikar to be felicitated by UP BJP. Elections to be held there next year,” tweeted the former Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai and ex-executive editor of Sena mouthpiece ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’.
The Sena demanded that Nirupam be booked under sedition charges for “doubting the integrity of the Army” and called upon the Congress to sack him from his post immediately.
“How can he dare to question the army’s operations when even the Congress President and Vice-President have expressed support,” party spokesperson Manisha Kayande told mediapersons on Wednesday.
The BJP attempted to downplay Nirupam’s remarks saying it did not attach much significance to the ‘slander’ of the army.
Certain other Congress leaders like AICC general secretary Gurudas Kamat and former minister M. Arif Naseem Khan also criticised Nirupam for his statements after the Congress Party leadership made its stand clear.
Protests by various groups and parties were held in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to condemn Nirupam’s remarks on Wednesday.