The surgical strikes on 29 September by the Indian army has sharply divided opinions in the country. While the BJP and its supporters have been accused of extracting political mileage out of a military exercise, the opposition parties have slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his defence minister, Manohar Parrikar for taking politics to a new low.
Visibly on the back-foot, the BJP supporters have found it incredibly difficult to defend their stand on surgical strikes particularly after the Foreign Secretary caused considerable embarrassment to Modi and Parrikar. Jaishankar, while appearing before a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, had confessed that last month’s surgical strikes weren’t the first as claimed by Modi and Parrikar.
As if this embarrassment wasn’t enough, a BJP spokesperson went on a TV channel’s debate to heap on more misery on her leaders. Sanju Verma was live on the NewsX debate to discuss the fallout of Modi’s speech in Himachal Pradesh, where he implied that last month’s military operations across the LoC were the first in independent India.
While flying the flag for the saffron party, an overenthusiastic BJP spokesperson did away with history and blamed the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, for an action he wasn’t there to witness.
According to Verma, Nehru was responsible for sending the troops to 1965 war against Pakistan without wearing socks.
She thundered, “Now let me tell you. Who sent soldiers to war in 1965 without socks? Nehru! ”
Little did the fiery BJP spokesperson realise that Nehru wasn’t alive for the 1965 war because the country’s first prime minister had died a year ago in 1964.
Without realising that the BJP leader had made a huge gaffe, the channel tweeted her comments from the official Twitter handle, only to attract ridicule from social media users.
Prolific and eagle-eyed Twitter user, Joydas, was quick to highlight Verma’s lack of knowledge on modern Indian history.
He wrote, “Nehru died in 1964 but his ghost hid the socks in 1965. (P.S: She is from BJP’s Intellectual Cell)
Nehru died in 1964 but his ghost hid the socks in 1965. (P.S: She is from BJP's Intellectual Cell) https://t.co/DvwvbPHxjG
— Joy (@Joydas) October 18, 2016
Verma was even corrected by pro-BJP journalist Ashok Malik, who too reminded her that Nehru couldn’t possibly have sent the soldiers to war without socks in 1965 as he had died a year ago.
Malik wrote, “Nehru died in 1964, for God’s sake.”
Nehru died in 1964, for God's sake https://t.co/1nXMFxYlbB
— Ashok Malik (@MalikAshok) October 18, 2016
NewsX, surprisingly, deleted the tweet. But, as is the case in social media age, you are never too quick to prevent users from taking screenshots.
One user posted the screenshot;
— Ben (@gbenhur) October 18, 2016
A defensive Verma desperately tried to explain that she had not uttered those words and she had mentioned Nehru in the context of 1949, but the video told a completely different story. Verma had indeed committed a historical mistake.
Do watch the video!