In what may cause a huge embarrassment to the Congress party, a booklet highlighting the failures of the Centre’s Narendra Modi government on national security has shown Kashmir as ‘Indian Occupied Kashmir.’
The booklet was distributed by the senior Congress functionary, Ghulam Nabi Azad, at the state party headquarter in Lucknow.
BIZARRE: Congress booklet distributed during Azad's PC in Lucknow today marks Kashmir as "Indian Occupied Kashmir". pic.twitter.com/xt0PubsreE
— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) June 3, 2017
Speaking to reporters in Lucknow, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad slammed the government claiming that its Pakistan policy was “immature” while its policy towards China was “not clear”.
He claimed that over 500 jawans had died during the three years of the NDA’s rule at the centre and accused it of failure on the security front.
“The Modi government has been busy inaugurating schemes that were initiated by the previous UPA government….The recent inauguration of the Assam to Arunachal bridge is being shown as if it was undertaken by the Modi government. However 90 to 95 per cent of its work had already been done,” Azad was quoted by PTI.
What was surprising was that it did not occur to anyone in the Congress that their booklet to corner the BJP government had made a huge gaffe, a mistake that will cause considerable embarrassment to the party.
At the press conference, he released a booklet which contained a map showing Kashmir as Indian occupied Kashmir.
The BJP quickly latched on to the faux pas to attack its arch rival, saying it must have gladdened the heart of its “patrons in Pakistan”.
On its part, the Congress party apologised for the “big mistake”, admitting that it was its responsibility to ensure that such a map was not released. It, however, claimed the BJP had released a similar map on its website but never admitted to the mistake.
“It is not only regrettable but shocking that a senior Congress leader like Azad is projecting a map of Kashmir where it is described as Indian occupied Kashmir. Is Congress speaking the language of Pakistan?
“A Parliament resolution says even Pak occupied Kashmir is part of India. By projecting Kashmir as Indian occupied Kashmir the Congress party has not only made separatists happy but also gladdened the heart of its patrons across the border.
It is condemnable,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Shrikant Sharma, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government and its spokesperson, alleged that releasing such a map amounted to “treason” and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi should apologise for it.
He said it was not the first time that the Congress was speaking Pakistan’s language, alleging its vice president Rahul Gandhi had gone to JNU to sympathise with “traitors” and the party had also questioned the authenticity of cross-LoC surgical strikes to “bring down” the Army’s morale.
Congress leader Ajay Maken said it was a “printing error” but admitted that it was his party’s responsibility to ensure that such a mistake was not allowed.
“We apologise for this and will ensure that such a mistake is not repeated,” he said.
Targeting the BJP, he said its website had on March 28, 2014 shown a similar map. He claimed a map which was released the same year in September during the signing of a treaty with China in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had shown Arunachal Pradesh as part of China.
The difference between the BJP and the Congress is that “we admit our mistake but they don’t”.
“Before raising questions, they should respond to publication of such maps,” he said.
The BJP has now decided to file an FIR in Delhi on Sunday.
(With PTI inputs)