Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has dubbed as “outrageous” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement trying to credit “RSS teaching” for the decision to launch surgical strikes across the LoC.
The AICC General Secretary agreed with the perception in some quarters that BJP is trying to “politically milk” the surgical strikes.
“Obviously yes (BJP is trying to politically milk the surgical strikes). Do you have any doubt? Can you imagine a Defence Minister saying that the surgical strike is because of the teachings of RSS? What an outrageous statement,” Singh said in an interview to PTI.
He also charged the BJP-led government with having a strategy of engaging in “limited war” with Pakistan to win the next elections.
Asked if the government is “taking things too far” in trying to isolate Pakistan internationally, he said, “Because they (BJP-led NDA government) have failed on every front, they know that they can’t win the next elections without having some kind of a limited war with Pakistan. That’s their strategy.”
The Rajya Sabha member did not clarify if he was referring to the elections to Uttar Pradesh Assembly due early next year, or to Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
Singh favoured talks with Pakistan to de-escalate
tension between the two countries as he invoked former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s statement that one can’t choose neighbours.
“As Atal Behari Vajpayee had rightly said we have no choice…We can’t choose our neighbours. Pakistan is our neighbour. We have to sort of…There is no other option but to talk and discuss amicably,” he said.
He was responding to a question if he favoured talks with Islamabad to de-escalate the rising tension and whether it is the way forward.
“That’s (talks) the only way forward. Is war an option?” the two-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister asked.
Asked if the Ram temple issue was going to dominate political discourse ahead of UP elections, Singh said, “People have become wiser now. Every time there is an election they (BJP) come out with Ram mandir (issue). Even in 2007 and 2012 (elections in UP), they had come out with it but they did not get an advantage in those elections as well. So, I don’t think that is an issue anymore”.
Lord Ram looks set to occupy political centre stage in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh despite BJP’s claim of the temple issue not being on its agenda, with Union Minister Mahesh Sharma having said that those who get to do “Ram Ka Kaam” (serve Ram) were fortunate.
BJP hardliner Vinay Katiyar had demanded that a bill be brought in the Lok Sabha for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
(With inputs from PTI)