Chennai/Tuticorin: Congress senior and former Union Minister P.Chidambaram on Monday asked the Centre to “stop opposition-bashing” and instead get the world believe the government version of India’s February 26 air strikes.
“As a proud citizen I am prepared to believe my government. But if we want the world to believe, government must make the effort, not indulge in Opposition-bashing”, Chidambaram said in a tweet, responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attack at an NDA rally in Patna on Sunday accusing the Opposition of helping Pakistan and demoralising the Indian forces by asking for evidence of the surgical strikes and destruction of the terrorist launch-pads.
Retaliating, Chidambaram in another tweet pointing out that his party boss Rahul Gandhi was the first to hail the IAF for the strikes. “Congress President Rahul Gandhi was the first to salute the Indian Air Force for its splendid achievement. Why has Mr Modi forgotten that?” asked PC in the tweet.
And in yet another twitter missile to justify the Opposition doubts, he said, “IAF Vice Air Marshal declined to comment on casualties. MEA statement said there were no civilian or military casualties. So, who put out the number of casualties as 300-350?”
On a visit to Tuticorin, Union Minister Piyush Goyal thought it fit to take on ‘local man’ PC for his anti-Modi tweets. “It is thoroughly condemnable and I am ashamed that we have such leaders like P Chidambaram in this wonderful state of Tamil Nadu,” he told reporters, adding that Chidambaram and his Congress bosses seemed to believe in “Pakistan propaganda,” but not the Indian armed forces.
He said it was “shameful” that the Indian opposition was raising questions about the armed forces. “It is an insult to the Air Force, an insult for our jawans who are willing to lay down their lives to protect the country,” he said.
Not just the rebuke from Railway Minister, Chidambaram ended up in getting some heavy bashing from several other twitterati, with Vijayan P. @typical_mallu, posting: “Proud citizen - with never ending INTERIM BAIL.” Another said even the Pak terrorists had admitted to the IAF jets hitting the Jaish training camp at Balakot and posted newspaper clipping as his proof.
Incidentally, on Monday, IAF Chief BS Dhanoa said the figure on casualty will be given by the
government, even as Union Minister SS Ahluwalia had said the purpose of the strike was not to cause human casualties but to send out the message that India is capable of hitting deep inside enemy lines. Neither Modi nor any government spokesperson had given any figure on casualty of air strikes. Rather, it was the Indian media and social media where the unconfirmed figures of terrorists killed were being circulated, he had said.
Last Tuesday’s air strikes were seen as retaliation to the February 14 attack on CRPF jawans in Pulwama in Kashmir, in which 40 personnel were killed.
At his Patna rally on Sunday, PM Modi had accused the Opposition of speaking a language that “suits” Pakistan. “Leaders of the neighbouring country are using it as a shield to protect themselves against the charge of promoting terrorism. They are clapping gleefully,” the PM had said.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a tweet on Monday said, “Modi-ji, your central government ministers are stating that TV channels’ news is fake, stating that the prime minister never stated that 300 terrorists were killed during the Balakot air strike. Is this true? If no, the prime minister should tell the truth. Regards, citizens of country.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday had demanded evidence of the pre-emptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps by the Indian Air Force. She also said the opposition parties want to know the details of the operation....