Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday hit back at Congress president Rahul Gandhi after he made a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's foreign policy.
Rahul was criticising the Modi government for keeping silent after China — for the fourth time — blocked India's bid to designate Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist".
In response, the law minister accused Rahul of being "happy" when "the whole country is pained by China's move".
क्या मसूद अजहर जैसे नृशंस हत्यारे के मामले में कांग्रेस का स्वर दूसरा होगा? राहुल गांधी के ट्वीट से ऐसा लगता है कि उन्हें इस बात से खुशी है।
— BJP (@BJP4India) March 14, 2019
He also said that since the Congress president "shares close ties with China", he could have persuaded the administration against blocking India's bid at the UN Security Council. Addressing Rahul directly, Prasad said: "During Doklam (standoff), you went to the Chinese embassy. In Mansarovar, you said you are in touch with many officials. Why did you not use that proximity to persuade China out of their decision?"
"Your tweet would be shown in the office of Jaish-e-Mohammed with much merriment...I ask with great pain today that what is the Congress's commitment today to fight against terror," he said addressing a press conference. He said Rahul's tweet must be headline news in Pakistan. "You feel very happy seeing your news in Pakistan," Prasad claimed.
Prasad then went on to criticise the Congress chief's "understanding of foreign policy". He said foreign policy "is a serious subject, it is not determined by tweets". Prasad also reiterated the BJP's stance that "China would not be in the UNSC had it not been for your ancestors".
"The Congress has ruled country for 55 years...so we expected that the party would have given you correct advice regarding foreign policy. Generally, there is one line among all political parties regarding foreign policy," Prasad said.
He further said that China had made a similar decision at the UNSC back in 2009, when the UPA government was in power. "Had you posted such tweets then?" he asked Rahul.
Shortly after Prasad's press conference, the Congress took to Twitter and said that Prasad and the BJP should "take a leaf out of the UPA's book."
"Instead of blaming everyone else for their failures, the BJP Ravi Shankar Prasad should take a leaf out of the UPA's book. Ten days after the 26/11 attacks in 2008, the UNSC declared Hafiz Saeed a global terrorist and his organisation a terrorist group," the party wrote on its official Twitter handle.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi also took to Twitter to hit back at the law minister for his comments. Alleging that the BJP government has done nothing to combat terrorism, she wrote: "Ravi Shankar Prasad ji wants Rahul Gandhi ji to build pressure on China to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UNSC. Don't worry, we will do this as soon as we take charge in 2019. Shamefully, despite laal ankh promise PM Modi did nothing on terror, JeM, Pakistan!"
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Twitter seconded Chaturvedi's comments.
He also directly addressed the law minister and spoke against his comments. He wrote in a tweet: "Mantri ji, your government gave Pakistan a small victory when you postponed the Anantnag by-poll in 2017 and a big victory now that you’ve failed to conduct assembly elections. If anyone is giving Pakistan a reason to celebrate it isn’t Rahul Gandhi. Look closer to home sir."
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2019 14:28:34 IST