Nirmala Sitharaman interview: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent statement supporting a second term for PM Narendra Modi could be a ploy by the Congress to oust the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.
In an interview with news agency ANI, Sitharaman said Congress leaders have visited Pakistan in the past seeking help from the neighbouring country for removing Modi.
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“I wouldn’t know why such statements are being made. Every time such statements are made and this is individually my perception and not my party’s or the government’s take. There have been many eminent leaders of the Congress who went there (Pakistan) to seek help to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They went there saying ‘Modi hatane ke liye hamen madad karo’ (help us to oust Modi). I wonder whether this is also a part of the scheme of things which have been put by Congress. I don’t know what to make of this honestly,” Sitharaman said.
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Interacting with a group of journalists in Islamabad recently, Imran Khan had said that there was a better chance of peace dialogue between India and Pakistan going ahead and settlement of Kashmir issue if the BJP wins the Lok Sabha elections and Narendra Modi retains the PM post.
Defence Min on Pak PM’s statement ‘India-Pak have better chance of settling Kashmir issue only if Modi’s BJP wins’: I wonder if this is also part of scheme of things which have been put forth by the Congress’ side. https://t.co/bBs8MXtwM9
— ANI (@ANI) April 17, 2019
Imran Khan’s statement had triggered a sharp reaction from the Congress which said that ‘Islamabad seems to have officially allied with PM Modi’.
“It seems that Pakistan has now officially allied with Modi ji. Imran Khan seems to wish for Modiji’s success. It seems that the love affair with Imran Khan now continues. We want to say Imran Khan and Pakistan will never succeed nor will the firecrackers, in Modiji’s language, burst in Pakistan, for Modiji is going to lose the 2019 election,” Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said.
Responding to her Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s claims that India may launch an attack on Pakistan in between April 16-20, Sitharaman said she found the statement amusing.
“I don’t know from where he got these dates from. Good luck to him…god knows (who is his source in India) but it sounded very fanciful and amusing to me,” she said.