Sandeep Dikshit row: A day after triggering a controversy with his statement against Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit today said his words against the Army chief were wrong. While talking to Republic TV, Dikshit said, “I accept what I said is wrong and when you accept it, you withdraw the statement and apologise, and I have.” Earlier on Sunday, Dikshit had tweeted: “I have reservations about a comment by Army chief but I should have chosen appropriate words. I apologise.”
On Sunday, PTI reported former Congress MP Dikshit as saying: “Ours is not a mafia army like the Pakistani army which makes statements like the goons on the street. It looks bad when our Army chief gives a statement like a ‘sadak ka goonda’ (goon on the street).” Commenting on the great legacy of Indian Army, Dikshit had further said, “I don’t think our Army chief lived up to that…I believe this Army chief does not live up to my image of what the Indian Army should be. I believe, the Army chief should not make political statements.”
Dikshit’s remarks stirred a row, with the BJP demanding his expulsion and an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi. On its part, the Congress distanced itself from Dikshit’s remarks. Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal said, “Our party respects the Army and so does the country. If some words have been used for its chief, it is unfortunate.”
I have reservations on a comment of the Army Chief, but I should have chosen appropriate words. I apologise
— Sandeep Dikshit (@_SandeepDikshit) June 11, 2017
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju tweeted, “What’s wrong with Congress Party? How dare Congress call Indian Army Chief as “Sadak Ka Gunda”!! (sic).”
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “This statement is absolutely shocking, it is appalling. Calling the respected Army chief of the country a ‘sadak ka goonda’, the Indian people will not accept it. Sonia Gandhi should expel such leaders and apologise.” Patra also alleged that Congress had a “tradition” of making such remarks as its vice-president Rahul Gandhi had earlier used words such as “khoon ki dalali” and said, “We see a trend of Congress leaders speaking against the Indian Army and the Army chief.”
In an interview to PTI recently, General Rawat, while defending Army Major Leetul Gogoi’s act of using a Kashmiri man as a “human shield” against stone-pelters in the Valley, had said, “I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then, I would have been happy. Then, I could do what I (wanted to do),” he had said.