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BJP, Cong spar over defence panel meet

Our Bureau, New Delhi | Updated on July 06, 2020 Published on July 06, 2020

JP Nadda, BJP Working President

Call at least one meeting: Congress retorts

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hasn’t attended even a single meeting of the Defence Standing Committee of Parliament of which he is a member, alleged the BJP here on Monday. The Congress countered by asking the BJP why the Centre has not convened a meeting of the panel in the last three months despite demands by the Opposition that the situation along China borders need to be discussed threadbare.

BJP president JP Nadda said in a tweet: “Rahul Gandhi does not attend a single meeting of Standing Committee on Defence. But sadly, he continues to demoralise the nation, question the valour of our armed forces and do everything that a responsible Opposition leader should not do.”

He said the Congress dynasty does not allow other leaders in the party to grow. “Rahul Gandhi belongs to that glorious dynastic tradition where as far as defence is concerned, committees don’t matter, only commissions do. Congress has many deserving members who understand parliamentary matters but one dynasty will never let such leaders grow. Really said,” he said.

Giving details of Gandhi’s absence, party’s spokesman and Rajya Sabha member GVL Narasimha Rao said Gandhi said of the 11 meetings of Standing Committee on defence held so far, the Nehru scion attended none. He said the Wayanad MP skipped a field visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh by the panel. “He must apologise to the armed forces,” Rao said.

In response, the Congress said daily insidious comments are making Nadda look like a poorer version of malicious BJP spokespersons. “Had the BJP and Modi government spent its energy in fighting China and supporting our Armed Forces, you wouldn’t need to lie on Chinese transgressions to mislead the nation,” said Congress’ media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala. He asked: “Is cutting ₹11,000 crore of ‘Dearness Pay’ of 15 lakh members of our Armed Forces and 26 lakh military pensioners (from 1/1/2020 to 30/6/2021) Modi Government’s way of encouragement or a Machiavellian hit job?”

Citing a report of the Estimates Committee of Parliament, he said defence expenditure was ‘lowest since 1962’ under Modi regime. “Didn’t the Standing Committee on Defence headed by General B C Khanduri also hold that despite PMO’s intervention having been sought on allocation of adequate Defence Budget, PMO chose not to act? Is this the PM’s concern for defence preparedness?” Surjewala asked.

Another Congress spokesman Pawan Khera said China will not go back by attacking Rahul Gandhi. “So attack China instead,” he said. “How long will you succeed in distractions,” he asked.

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Published on July 06, 2020
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