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BJP hits out at Congress for Sandeep Dikshit’s remarks on Army chief

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-06-2017 Anuja

New Delhi: A day after Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit kicked off a controversy by likening Army chief General Bipin Rawat to a “goon on the street”, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday attacked the Congress party for consistently questioning and demoralizing’ the Indian Army.

“The BJP has spoken several times in the recent past on the very disappointing and absolutely condemnable attitude of the Congress party particularly of its well known faces who speak taking turns to insult the Indian army,” Nirmala Sitharaman, Union commerce minister, told reporters at a press conference at the party’s national headquarters.

“The kind of questions they would ask, the kind of aspersions they would cast, the proof of success of army operations that they would require, the shaming by calling names that they would take up, the choice of words that they would use raises a very important question in our minds... over the years… the Congress party consistently with a pattern questions the integrity of the Indian Army, names the Indian army to shame them and demoralize them,” she added.

Sitharaman’s attack on the Congress party comes in the backdrop of Dikshit’s comment, which he later withdrew, about the Army chief. “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),” the former Congress MP and son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said on Sunday. He later put out a tweet on his official-but-unverified page, saying: “I have reservations on a comment of the Army Chief, but I should have chosen appropriate words. I apologise.”

Referring to Dikshit, Sitharaman said his comments were “shocking” and that even when Dikshit took back his statements, there was no sense of retribution or apology and it lacked “any correction of attitude”.

“I wonder if this is a strategy of the Congress party, to undermine the Indian Army, weaken our institutions, which is what they do in Parliament also, you see them with sometime such sheer impunity... We from BJP condemn this and demand that the Congress leadership, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi in particularly, come out and disown (it)... and apologize,” she added.

The Congress party has sought to distance itself from Dikshit’s comment. “Our party respects the Army and so does the country. If some words have been used for its chief, it is unfortunate,” PTI quoted party leader Meem Afzal as saying on Sunday.

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