Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday lashed out at the Congress and said party chief Sonia Gandhi should issue an apology letter because her party member Sandeep Dikshit likened the country’s Army chief to a “street thug”.
“The attitude of the Congress is shocking. It’s a plot to undermine the role of Army. They have questioned Army’s integrity. They should apologize. Sonia Gandhi should issue an apology letter,” said Sitharaman, the Minister of state for commerce and industry.
The BJP minister also slammed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for his “khoon ki dalali” comment last year following the surgical strikes against terror camps across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir(PoK).
“Our brave soldiers destroyed terror launchpads in POK and they (Congress) call it “khoon ki dalali”,”she said.
Sitharaman was one with another BJP leader Sambit Patra who on Sunday said the Congress ought to expel Dikshit for his insulting remarks against the Army chief.
“First it was Rahul Gandhi who spoke of “khoon ki dalali”. Following him was Sanjay Nirupam, who demanded proof post the surgical strike carried out by the Army. And the latest to join this bandwagon is Sandeep Dikshit, with his hurtful and appalling statement. Sonia Gandhi should expel such leaders and apologise,” Patra was quoted as saying by ANI.
On June 8, General Bipin Rawat, while expressing the Indian Army’s preparedness to counter both external and internal threats the country faces, said the Army was “fully ready for a two and a half front war”. It was in reference to this comment that Dikshit on Sunday said Army chief Bipin Rawat is a “sadak ka gunda”, or “street thug”.
Dikshit said India’s Army chief shouldn’t behave like the Pakistani army.
“Ours is not a mafia army like the Pakistani army which makes statements like thugs on the streets do. It looks bad when our Army chief gives a statement like (he is) a ‘sadak ka goonda’ (street thug),” said the former Congress Parliamentarian and son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
He subsequently apologised for his statement.
“I genuinely believe what I said was wrong. So, I apologise for it and withdraw my statement,” said Dikshit.