The Congress said PM Narendra Modi was busy shooting documentary when country was mourning
The gloves are off days after Rahul Gandhi declared that the Congress would fully support the government on the Pulwama terror attack and avoid any politics. The Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of shooting a documentary in the Corbett National Park on the day of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber in Kashmir, and continuing filming even after news of the deadly attack emerged.
"The terror attack happened at 3:10 pm, but the prime minister was busy shooting for his promotional film till 6:40 pm. When the whole country was mourning the loss of lives of our jawans in the Pulwama attack in the afternoon, PM Modi was busy shooting for a film till the evening. Is there any PM in the world like this," Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference.
In his hunger for power, the prime minister has forgotten "raj dharma" (duty of governance), he alleged, turning to the phrase once used by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
BJP president Amit Shah hit back accusing the Congress of playing politics over the Pulwama attack. "The Congress is making an issue of the events the PM was attending at that time. Say whatever you want, but the people of the country are not affected. He is very serious about national security and zero tolerance towards terrorism. With what face are you questioning the PM? The same party questioned the surgical strikes," he said at a rally in Andhra Pradesh.
On February 14, PM Modi was reportedly shooting for a Discovery documentary on his days in the Himalayas. "Modiji, alongwith the head of Discovery and its camera crew, was watching gharial (crocodile) during his boat ride. He had tea and samosa at 7 pm at a government guest house while the nation didn't eat. It is absolutely despicable and shameful," Mr Surjewala charged, stating that local papers had reported a minute-to-minute schedule of the PM.
"While the country was picking up the remains of our soldiers, the Prime Minister was busy with his propaganda and publicity," he said.
I am told that during his photo shoot in Corbett when PM was informed that there has been an attack on Pulwama and some casualties may be there, he replied “Tik Hai” The man continued with his modelling engagement, by the time he finished 40 jawans were finished
The Congress also attacked PM Modi on what it alleged is a watered-down joint statementwith Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who visited India after a two-day trip to Islamabad during which he pledged $20 billion to the country and called himself Pakistan's "friend in need".
The Congress attacks peaked when PM Modi broke with protocol to welcome the Saudi leader at the Delhi airport and wrap him up in a bear hug.
Mr Surjewala referred to the Saudi joint statement with Pakistan stressing on the need for "avoiding politicisation of the UN listing regime". It was seen as a reference to India's efforts to have Pakistan-based Jaish chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under UN rules.
"Declaring a terrorist is political? Did PM Modi not have the courage to ask a friendly country that they amend their statement and ensure that they help in getting Masood Azhar declared a terrorist," questioned Mr Surjewala.
In the past, the Congress has also not been spared allegations of trivialising a terror attack. After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, then Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh of the Congress was accompanied in a survey of the terror-hit sites by his actor son Riteish Deshmukh and filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma.
Mr Surjewala referred to PM's comment that people should not point fingers at such a time, and cited a video of PM Modi (then Gujarat Chief Minister) criticising the Congress government on the 26/11 attacks.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Prime Minister continued to “enjoy boat rides” with the camera crew even as the country was picking up the “pieces of the martyrs”.
While referring to reports in a section of the media and providing a timeline of events of the day, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Prime Minister continued to “enjoy boat rides” with the camera crew even as the country was picking up the “pieces of the martyrs”.
Hitting out at the Prime Minister for neglecting his “raj dharma” (duty of governance), Surjewala told reporters, “The prime minister also knew about it, yet the PM, a person who claims himself to be a pseudo-nationalist, continues to shoot a film (for Discovery channel) for self-propagation in Corbett National Park in Ramnagar.”
The attack took place at 3:10 pm and Congress was the first party to condemn it at 5:15 pm, he claimed.
“The prime minister continues to eat chai, samosas at seven o’ clock at government expense in a PWD guest house when every single Indian household didn’t eat their food,” Surjewala said.
The Congress broadside comes after Amit Shah targeted the opposition party in a rally after the attack. The BJP chief said that the martyrdom of the soldiers "will not go waste as it is a BJP government in power, not Congress".--NDTV