Congress minister calls army chief 'sadak ka goonda': Nirmala Sitharaman demands apology from Sonia Gandhi

Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman has demanded that Sonia Gandhi apologise for Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit calling the army chief a 'sadak ka goonda' on Sunday.

Earlier, several BJP leaders demanded an apology from the Congress.

Sitharaman said, "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 apologise. Sonia Gandhi should issue an apology letter," The Times of India reported.

She also condemned Rahul Gandhi's khoon ki dalali comment. "Our brave soldiers destroyed terror launchpads in PoK and they (Congress) call it khoon ki dalali."

According to Live Mint, Sitharaman said, "The proof of success of army operations that they would require, the shaming by calling names that they would take up, the choice of words that they would use raises a very important question in our minds... over the years… the Congress party consistently with a pattern questions the integrity of the Indian Army, names the Indian army to shame them and demoralize them."

According to ANI, After Sitharaman's tweet, Sandeep Dikshit apologised for the second time:

  After Dikshit likened army chief Bipin Rawat to a "goon on the street", the BJP demanded his expulsion and an apology from Sonia Gandhi. The Congress was quick to distance itself from Dikshit's remarks, who, following criticism, withdrew his remarks and apologised.

"Ours is not a mafia army like the Pakistani army which makes statements like the goons on the street. It looks bad when our army chief gives a statement like a 'sadak ka goonda' (goon on the street)," the former Congress MP and son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said. He also said the Indian Army had depth and was gentlemanly and as it was a great institution, it brought along a particular culture with it. "I don't think our army chief lived up to that...I believe this army chief does not live up to my image of what the Indian Army should be. I believe the army chief should not make political statements," Dikshit said. He, however, later tweeted:

Dikshit's comments on the army chief drew flak from Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. He tweeted: What's wrong with Congress Party? How dare Congress call Indian Army Chief as "Sadak Ka Gunda"!!

Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal said, "Our party respects the army and so does the country. If some words have been used for its chief, it is unfortunate."

File image of Sandeep Dikshit. PTI

File image of Sandeep Dikshit. PTI

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quick to demand an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the episode and Dikshit's expulsion from the party.

"This statement is absolutely shocking, it is appalling. Calling the respected army chief of the country a 'sadak ka goonda', the Indian people will not accept it. Sonia Gandhi should expel such leaders and apologise," he said.

Patra alleged that the Congress had a "tradition" of making such remarks as its vice-president Rahul Gandhi had earlier used words such as "khoon ki dalali".

He added, "We see a trend of Congress leaders speaking against the Indian Army and the army chief."

He added that this will not be accepted by the people of the country and the democracy will reject the Congress party for this kind of language against the army chief.

General Rawat, in a recent interview to PTI, had defended Army Major Leetul Gogoi's act of tying a Kashmiri man to his jeep and using him as a "human shield" against stone-pelters in the Valley.

"I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then, I would have been happy. Then, I could do what I (wanted to do)," he had said.

The army chief's comments had come under criticism from various quarters, including mainstream political parties such as the Left parties and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.

Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 15:46 PM

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