Speaking at Aajtak event ‘Suraksha sabha’, veteran Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi accused the Modi government of politicizing the airstrikes. However, he inadvertently acknowledged that Vajpayee government had conducted two surgical strikes. The statement substantiates the fact that while Congress governments over the years have been complacent in their response to Pakistan sponsored terrorism, both the NDA governments have taken strict action against it.
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When asked about the airstrikes in Balakot, Singhvi added that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had also conducted two surgical strikes, but the then prime minister never showed “56-inch chest” or promoted it. Further lashing out against the leaders of saffron party, Congress leader said there is nothing like “my terrorism and your terrorism”. No political party has shown as much solidarity as Congress, said Singhvi, adding, “After 2014, there is 177 percent increase in terrorism in the valley, 500 percent hike in ceasefire violations and Army casualties is up by 100 percent. Picture of martyrs was put on the platform of BJP leaders, BJP leaders used to wear army uniforms during campaigns. No other party has done so cheap politics ever”.
Singhvi’s statement appears like an election gimmick and comes as an act of desperation. Time and again, Congress party blames Vajpayee government for the release of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar. However, they seem to undermine the immense pressure under which NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to release Masood Azhar along with two of his associates. Also, the decision to exchange terrorists for hostages was taken in an all-party meet. The then leader of opposition and Rahul Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi was also present in that meeting. Moreover, Singhvi seems to have forgotten that it was the Congress party which released Latif, who later emerged as the Chief handler of fidayeen attack on Pathankot air-base. He was released by the Congress government in 2010 as part of government’s effort to repair ties with Pakistan. Congress-led UPA government, barely 2 years after the heinous 26/11 attacks, handed over nearly 25 terrorists to Pakistan in a ‘goodwill gesture’.
Not to forget that at the time of PM Vajpayee too, defence forces conducted surgical strikes. The operation was carried out on January 22, 2000, under the leadership of the then Army chief Gen. Ved Prakash Malik, who also oversaw India’s victory in Kargil War. According to Pravin Sawhney, Editor of Force magazine, around 100 Indian soldiers crossed the border in the midnight of January 22, 2000 and launched a three directional attack on Pakistani forces the Iftikharabad sub-sector in Chhamb sector across the LoC, which left atleast 16 Pakistani soldiers dead. Moreover, during a period of 8 months between January and August 2000, defense forces had carried out similar strikes across the border in Akhnoor, Mendhar, Kotli, Naushera and Pallanwala regions.
Now the ball is in Congress’ court, it is the Congress party which initially compromised with the national security and put the lives of security forces at stake and now politicizing the airstrikes. Rahul Gandhi appears desperate to get back to power and has been trying to blame PM Modi for everything before the Lok Sabha elections due in April 2019. Rahul Gandhi has chosen to forget that Congress’ goodwill gesture led to the Pathankot attack cost us lives of fine men. And now instead of taking responsibility for the deeds of his previous government, he is trying to create a controversy to get political mileage out of it.