Distancing his party from a controversial statement by a senior party leader, Rahul Gandhi today said the Congress disagreed with Digvijaya Singh’s comments questioning India’s surgical strikes and described the statement as “ridiculous”.
“We disagree with Digvijaya Singh’s views. The views of the party are above Digvijaya Singh’s views,” Rahul Gandhi said, responding to reporters’ questions in Jammu on the sidelines of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“The views of the party are generated from a conversation. Digvijaya Singh’s views are outlying views. They are not views held by the party. We are absolutely crystal clear – the armed forces do a job, and they do the job exceptionally well. They don’t need to be providing proof,” the Congress leader said.
Rahul Gandhi’s clarification comes as the Congress faced massive criticism over Digvijaya Singh’s comments at a Bharat Jodo Yatra rally on Monday.
“They talk about surgical strikes – that we killed these many people. But there is no proof. They are ruling by peddling a bundle of lies,” Mr Singh had said.
Attempting damage control, the Congress said the remarks didn’t reflect the party’s views.
Mr Singh also said: “I have the greatest regard for the defence forces”.
But the BJP seized on the comments and slammed him and the Congress as “anti-national” for questioning the army. The party also demanded Rahul Gandhi’s apology.
“Congress leaders are doing Bharat Todo (divide India) on the instructions of Rahul Gandhi. Digvijaya Singh has become a symbol of venomous remarks. Trust in the Army is unbreakable and above politics. If the Army said there was a surgical strike, how can you ask for proof repeatedly. This shows that you do not have faith in our Army,” said BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.
“It has become a character of Congress to give irresponsible statements. But if they speak against the Indian Army, it won’t be tolerated. It seems that Rahul Gandhi and Digvijaya Singh have been blinded by their hatred towards Narendra Modi,” said the BJP leader.
India launched surgical strikes in 2016 days after 18 soldiers were killed in a terror attack on an army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.
The February 2019 Pulwama attack on a security convoy was blamed on Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Days after the attack, India retaliated with air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot, which was followed by an aerial dogfight between the neighbours.