NEW DELHI: Political rhetoric hit a new low on Saturday with a BJP leader alleging that Rahul Gandhi was sympathizing with terror outfit Lashkar e Toiba after the Congress vice president suggested that Narendra Modi should solicit more hugs from US President Donald Trump.
The ‘Óffice of RG’ Twitter handle identified with Rahul Gandhi posted earlier : “Narendrabhai, baat nahi bani (claims did not materialise). Terror mastermind is free. President Trump just delinked Pak military funding from LeT. Hugplomacy fail. More hugs urgently needed.” (sic). It was a reference to the release this week of Hafiz Saeed, the Jamat ud Dawa chief in Pakistan, alleged to be the mastermind of the 26/11 attacks in Bombay. Today is the eve of the tragedy’s anniversary.
The handle also tagged a news report that said that the US Congress had approved a bill de-linking the insurgent Haqqani network from the LeT. In effect, the US was continuing with sanctions against the Haqqani network but not against the LeT in Afghanistan.
Gandhi was also taking a dig at Modi who is frequently pictured embracing world leaders in tight hugs, his trademark personal touch to diplomacy.
The ruling NDA has been claiming that the tough stand of the government against terror outfits is being appreciated by world leaders and that Pakistan was being isolated for its state-support to militants.
Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao turned the debate acerbic.
“Rahul baba, aadten nahi badley haen (Rahulbaba, habits haven’t changed). For once stand with the country and not with terrorists as is your habit. You’re a known sympathiser of LeT. WikiLeaks and Ishrat Jehan case cover-up exposed your links. BTW (by the way) have you congratulated your Hafeez Saheb on his release,” Rao tweeted to Gandhi. He also sent a copy of the tweet in a statement to journalists.
The war of words between leaders of the Congress and BJP is getting bitter in this season of the Gujarat assembly elections. The BJP has, since the 2002 state assembly elections, repeatedly brought up Pakistan and its support to terror outfits in its campaigns.
“While the Manmohan Singh's government treated Pakistan as a victim state and let it off lightly, Modi has ensured isolation of Pakistan as Terroristan not just in the region but globally, including all international fora like the UN, G20, BRICS, ASEAN,” Rao further said.
Rao stated that the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have repeatedly betrayed the country by pandering to anti-India elements.
“The manner in which they questioned surgical strikes against the terror launch pads across the line of control and disgraceful attacks against the army chief by calling him a street thug (Sadak Ka Goonda) is symptomatic of Congress party's support for anti-India sentiments,” added the BJP leader.
Rao further recalled alleged statements of Congress leaders eulogising slain Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani and claimed that solidarity for separatists clearly showed sympathies of the Opposition party for pro-Pakistan elements.
The BJP leader proffered a slogan to the Opposition party, saying "Congress Ka Haath, Aatankivadiyon ke Saath" is a more appropriate slogan for the Congress, he said.