Surjewala also asked whether the panel held that despite PMO's intervention having been sought on allocation of adequate defence budget, "the PMO chose not to act".
The Congress on Monday accused the BJP of resorting to “cheap distractions and stunts” to “manage headlines” during the India-China border crisis, after the ruling party attacked Rahul Gandhi for not attending meetings of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.
The opposition party also said that had the BJP government spent its energy in fighting China and supporting the armed forces, it would not have to “lie” and “mislead” the country on Chinese transgressions at the border.
The Congress’ counter came after BJP chief J P Nadda took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi who has been firing salvos at the Modi government daily over the border stand-off.
Nadda had said that Gandhi does not attend a single meeting of Standing Committee on Defence but continues to demoralise the nation and question the valour of armed forces. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hit back at Nadda, saying his “insidious comments” are making him look like a “poorer version of malicious BJP spokespersons”.
“Had the BJP and the Modi Government spent its energy in fighting China and supporting our Armed Forces, you wouldn’t need to lie on Chinese transgressions to mislead the nation,” he said on Twitter. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the government has not called any meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence for the last over three months at a time when there has been tension at the border in Ladakh. He claimed that the BJP is “rattled” because its “flimsy” and “individual-centric” foreign policy has failed and is resorting to “cheap diversionary tactics”.
“Why resort to such cheap distractions. China is making incursions into Indian territory at 6-7 points in Ladakh and the prime minister is giving a clean chit to China, saying ‘there has been no incursion and no one has occupied our land or post’,” he said.
Accusing the BJP of resorting to headline management, the Congress leader said it does not work beyond a point. “These are cheap stunts to manage headlines. Instead of responding to questions asked by Rahul Gandhi, whether on coronavirus, foreign policy, economy or the border standoff, you (the BJP) respond by attacking the one who has asked the question,” he said.
Asking the BJP government to target China and not Gandhi, Khera said, “China will not go back by attacking Rahul Gandhi, so attack China instead”. Khera said the government should respond responsibly and answer questions posed to it. “Your foreign policy has become a victim of event management. Governments do not run on headlines management. How long can you continue doing this?”he asked.
He alleged that the government has the habit of attacking the one asking hard questions, be it on the economy, the spread of virus, migrant labourers, foreign policy or the border issue. “How long will you succeed in distractions,” he asked. Surjewala also posed several queries to the BJP chief.
“Is cutting Rs 11,000 CR of ‘Dearness Pay’ of 15 Lakh Members of our Armed Forces & 26 Lakh Military Pensioners (from 1/1/2020 to 30/6/2021) Modi Govt’s way of encouragement or a Machiavellian hit job?” he tweeted
“Did the Estimates Committee of Parliament headed by ex BJP president, Sh. M.M.Joshi submit a report citing that defence expenditure was ‘lowest since 1962’-lowest in 56 yrs? Is this Modi Government’s way of enhancing the morale of our armed Forces?”
He asked if the Modi Government has listened to Standing Committee on Defence headed by Gen BC Khanduri which held that “68 per cent of our ‘equipment is vintage’ & there are insufficient resources for ‘construction of strategic roads on China Border”.
Surjewala also asked whether the panel held that despite PMO’s intervention having been sought on allocation of adequate defence budget, “the PMO chose not to act”. “Is this the PM’s concern for defence preparedness,” he asked.
He also asked why the Modi Government shelved the creation of 90,000-strong Mountain Strike Corps to be carved out as a countermeasure to Chinese build up on our borders.
“Why did you deny our armed forces this strategic fire power to take on the Chinese forces,” he asked. Alleging that China committed 2,264 transgressions on Indian territory since 2015 under the Modi Government, he asked, “Why did the BJP Government not act upon this premeditated Chinese design”. Targeting Rahul Gandhi, Nadda had said he “belongs to that glorious dynastic tradition where as far as defence is concerned, committees don’t matter, only commissions do”.