NEW DELHI: Asserting that the country is safe under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday accused the Congress of weakening the fight against Jihadi terrorists, and wondered if the party could be trusted by voters in the upcoming general elections.
In a blog, Jaitley said the Congress party is one with the government on condemning Pulwama terror attack resulting in the death of 41 CRPF jawans but is disturbed about air strikes in Balakot, Pakistan.
He said the Congress has repeatedly rubbished the surgical strikes of September 2016 and contends that they have either taken place in the past also or alternatively they never took place under Prime Minister Modi.
"On the air strikes, their conduct is even more dubious," the minister said.
While giving "lip sympathy" to the Indian Air Force for the first two days, Congress started a multi-pronged attack and questioned the success of the strikes.
The grand old party, Jaitley said, started demanding proof that terrorists had died at Balakot and even contended that the strike had taken place not against terror but to ensure BJP's victory in the forthcoming elections.
"This was a self-goal by the Congress in domestic politics.
This was also playing into the hands of Pakistan where statements of Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, were played out on television channels in Pakistan.
"Pakistan Government cited these statements to bolster their own falsehood," Jaitley said in the blog titled 'Agenda 2019: Part - 2: Prime Minister Modi's Evolving National Security Doctrine'.
He further said the Congress had no structured plan during ten years of UPA on how to deal with the problems of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi inherited this as a legacy issue.
He experimented the conventional method of trying to soften the relationship with Pakistan in a hope that wiser sense would prevail, but Pakistan responded with Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama.
"He encouraged the mainstream political parties of the Valley to be a part of the national coalition in Kashmir but unfortunately the double talk of support from Delhi and the pressure from the Jamat-e-Islami were to the detriment of anti-separatists policy," Jaitley said.
The finance minister also said the BJP-led government, both at the Centre and in Chhattisgarh, had a consistently strong position against the Left-wing extremism.
"From JNU to Chhattisgarh, the Congress has struck a deal with them. There are increasing instances of Left-wing extremists actively encouraging the Kashmiri Jihadis in the Kashmir valley."
"The Congress does not oppose the idea of a pro-active approach in destroying terror at its point of origin. It is disturbed with regard to the political fallout of this pro-active approach on the image of Prime Minister," he said.
At a time when India is battling ultra-Left and Jihadi terrorists, facing with a serious threat of cross border terrorism, Jaitley wondered if the electorate could trust those who have weakened the fight against terrorism.
"This is a choice before the electorate in the 2019 general elections. Can an over-ground ally of Left-wing extremism be put in power at New Delhi? Can those who have weakened the battle against terror for the cause of vote bank politics be trusted? "Should not those who have played into the Pakistani hands be taught a severe lesson in these elections? Unhesitatingly the answer to the above question is a big 'yes'. This country is safe and secure under the NDA Government led by Prime Minister Modi," he said.
The Modi-led NDA government will be seeking a second term as 900 million people are expected to vote in the Lok Sabha elections beginning April 11.
Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.
Several non-BJP parties like the Congress, SP, BSP, and TMC have joined hands to form a grand coalition 'Mahagathbandhan' to take on Narendra Modi-led NDA in the forthcoming elections.
The polling will be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19 for 543 Lok Sabha seats across the country.
In 2014, Modi-led BJP had won 282 seats out of 543 constituencies in the Lok Sabha, handing out a crushing defeat to the 10-year-rule of the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress.