In Army chief a ‘goonda’ row, Rahul’s terse message to Dikshit: don’t politicise army; BJP wants apology

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Sandeep Dikshit

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Congress leaders have a habit of questioning the Indian Army.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today asked Congress president to apologise to the country over her party leader’s goonda remark on Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

Union Minister Niramal Sitharaman slammed Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit for likening General Rawat to a ‘sadak ka goonda’ (a road-side goon) and said Sonia Gandhi should apologise for the shameful statement.

“Nobody less than Sonia Gandhi should come out and apologise because it is the question of the Army’s morale,” Sitharaman said.

“The Congress consistently, in a pattern, questions the integrity of the Indian Army. A responsible party allows its well-known faces to go haywire and doesn’t bother about coming out clean on what its approach is about the Indian Army,” she added.

BJP’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwary also demanded that both Sonia and son Rahul Gandhi should offer an unconditional apology.

“Dikshit’s remark is an insult of 15 lakh soldiers of the Army. This is not one person’s point of view; but Rahul and Sonia Gandhi’s opinion too, which made Dikshit say it. When our soldiers are beaten or killed on the border, they don’t say anything supportive, but now, to comment on them is very easy. I would want Rahul and Sonia Gandhi to come forward and apologise,” Tiwari said.

RAHUL GANDHI DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM DIKSHIT’S REMARK

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has distanced himself and the party from Dikshit’s statement.

“The Army works for us, defends us. No politician need to make any comment against the Army and its chief. Nobody should play politics with the Army,” Rahul said in Bengaluru where he re-launched Congress-run newspaper – National Herald.

SANDEEP DIKSHIT APOLOGISES

Facing flak for his controversial statement, Sandeep Dikshit tendered repeated apology, saying he shouldn’t have used ‘uncivilised’ words to convey his message.

“It was in the context of the constant statements that the Army Chief has made with regard to the Army’s preparation and Pakistan. I thought Indian Army chiefs normally don’t make these statements and they have a different manner in which they approach. However, this was a separate issue. If I had to say something of this kind, there was a different language and manner in which I should have said it,” the Congress leader said.

Dikshit had yesterday said General Rawat shouldn’t make statements like a  ‘sadak ka goonda’.

Speaking to ANI, Dikshit had said, “It feels our army chief speaks like a roadside thug. While this is expected from Pakistan who are like the mafia, why does our own chief make such pronouncements?”

FREEDOM OF SPEECH UNDER ATTACK

At a packed gathering in the Ambedkar Bhavan, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi took potshots at the government by alleging that the government is forcing everyone into silence, with the situation such that Dalits are getting beaten up, minorities are frightened and journalists and bureaucrats threatened.

In Bengaluru to take part in the re-launch of the National Herald, he went on to add that, “The power of truth is being completely replaced with the truth of power and anybody who attempts to speak the truth and stand for it is being pushed aside”.

Rahul also spoke about how he was not allowed to meet farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. And when he asked the police as to why he is not being allowed to meet these people, he was just told that they were under strict orders not to allow him in. “This is the India we are living in where power will simply manufacture the truth,” he added.

Lambasting the government for stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, he said, “Thousands of journalists are not allowed to write about what they want”, adding, “Please speak the truth and do not be scared to speak the truth”.

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