The Congress on Thursday accused the Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of politicising the September 2016 surgical strikes after a video of the same was released and said the blood and sacrifice of the country's brave soldiers cannot be a political vote garnering tool for them.
Addressing a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala charged that while on the one hand, the Modi government is seeking credit for the sacrifice and valour of the armed forces, on the other, it has failed to provide direction and vision to deal with Pakistan.
He also accused the government of meting out step-motherly treatment to the armed forces by not providing them with state-of-the-art equipment and slashing their budgetary allocation.
Let the ruling dispensation remember that the blood and sacrifice of our brave soldiers cannot become a political vote garnering tool for the Modi Government and the BJP, he told reporters, alleging that the surgical strikes of September 28 and 29, 2016, were shamelessly politicised by the BJP for the March 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
On the one hand, the Modi government and BJP indulge in seeking credit for the sacrifice of our soldiers and surgical strikes, yet the government has utterly failed to provide the direction, the vision and the policy for dealing with Pakistan and checkmating Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, he charged.
Surjewala said the "apathy" and "incapacity" of the Modi government has resulted in the sacrifice of 146 soldiers, more than 1,600 ceasefire violations by Pakistan, and 79 terrorist attacks post-September 2016.
"The doublespeak of the Modi government and the BJP is reflected in the step-motherly treatment of our armed forces, both in terms of providing for security apparatus as also in slashing the budgetary allocation. Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Sarath Chand was forced to publicly state that 68 per cent of all equipment is 'vintage'," he said.
Hailing the indomitable courage, fortitude, and spirit of sacrifice of the armed forces, he said the Congress has unequivocally supported them and the government in conducting surgical strikes against terrorists in Pakistan and for taking all steps for demolishing the terror infrastructure against the country.
He said that as the Modi government seeks to politicise the bravery of our soldiers and their determination in conducting the surgical strikes through 'headline management', the nation demands answers.
"Is the Modi government endangering our 'security infrastructure'? Is the Modi government guilty of putting the lives of our soldiers in danger? Is the Modi government using our 'soldiers' as 'political fodder' -- using their sacrifice for vote garnering?" he asked.
Surjewala also asked whether former prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh were wrong when they used surgical strikes for strategic and security purposes without any chest thumping.
By making public the videos of the strikes, has the government not somehow endangered lives of armed forces participating in them as also civilians living along the Line of Control, he asked.