NEW DELHI: Busily campaigning Prime Minister Narendra Modi came in the Congress’ line of fire on Tuesday for his “silence” on ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the International Border in the Jammu region as also for running the government with “part-time” Defence Minister.
As Congress spokesperson and the party’s general secretary in-charge of poll-bound Haryana Shakeel Ahmed launched a scathing attack on Modi “wondering if the Prime Minister was not able to find a Defence Minister from his 283 Members of Parliament”.
Ahmed seemed to suggest that “not enough” seriousness “is being accorded” to Pakistan’s repeated acts of “ceasefire violations-- nearly 19 in recent months -- despite the civilian deaths.”
The PM, he said, was too busy with his election campaign in Maharashtra and Haryana and he has no time to appoint a full-time Defence Minister though the situation was rather tense at the border. The Defence Minister, who also has another heavy portfolio -- Finance Ministry -- “was recuperating” from a recent surgery, he added.
“But we all know that Arun Jaitley is a part-time Defence Minister,” he said.
Why Modi, who used to talk about the country’s security and respect so much before becoming the Prime Minister, could not find a capable Defence Minister?” he questioned.
Ahmed also criticised “the silence” of the Prime Minister on the ceasefire violation issue. The Congress leader drew the media’s attention to Modi’s tweets on August 6 last year in which Modi had criticised the previous UPA Government over Chinese incursions and ceasefire violations by Pakistan wondering “when will UPA rise”.
Taking a dig at Modi’s famous words -- “to deal with such situation, you need a 56-inch chest”, Ahmed said that the size seemed to have “shrunk to 5.6”.
Congress’ no-holds bar attack on Modi came close on the heels of the PM’s attack on Bhupinder Singh Hooda Government in Haryana which reportedly gave Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s controversial land deal with the DLF a quick approval, almost as a “parting gift” before the elections. An angry Congress on Tuesday retaliated by saying that “it was unbecoming of the Prime Minister to misrepresent facts” as the approval to the deal was “given in July much before the election was announced by the EC in September”. The MCC comes into play from the day of the announcement of elections. Citing the Supreme Court’s rejection of a PIL questioning the deal and its exoneration of Vadra in the matter, the Congress said that the party will place everything before the poll panel.