The BJP has come down heavily on the principal opposition party over its senior leader’s remarks against the Army chief. Former East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit had on Sunday used the phrase ‘sadak ka goonda’ while referrring to Army Chief Bipin Rawat. The remarks have since attracted major flak. Even Congress party has distanced itself from Dikshit.
On Monday, the ruling party charged that the Congress had shown a “consistent pattern” in undermining democratic institutions and it was shocking that its leader had now targeted the Army.
“There is no sense of apology in his tweets. No less than Congress president Sonia Gandhi should come out and apologise,” Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference.
Calling Dikshit, a former Lok Sabha MP, an eminent leader and well-known face, she said the Congress should disown him for trying to shame and demoralise the Army.
Sanddep Dikshit had tendered an apology soon after the controversy broke out yesterday after he likened Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks to a “goon on the street”.
“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, “I have reservations on a comment of the Army chief, but I should have chosen appropriate words. I apologise.”
Dikshit’s comments on the Army chief had even drawn flak from Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. On Twitter, Rijiju wrote, “What’s wrong with Congress Party? How dare Congress call Indian Army Chief as “Sadak Ka Gunda”!! (sic).”
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 (TMC).
(With inputs from the PTI)