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Monday, October 10, 2016

Here's the real reason behind Congress' silence on pre-2014 cross-border raids

AK Antony's assertion that Congress-led UPA also conducted similar raids and a story in the Hindu newspaper about a 2011 raid codenamed Operation Ginger lends credence to the belief that the Congress is now trying to explain away the Sept 29 raids as nothing but a continuation of strategy undertaken by the UPA government.

Never mind the former Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia’s explanation that the 2016 raids cannot be compared to any other raid due to its scale and complexity, the Congress leaders appear convinced that this is the best way to play the game. 

They may be right but an inevitable question that emerges is this. If the Cong-led UPA government was constantly hitting terrorists across the LoC, why didn’t they advertise it? According to AK Antony, the then governmed conducted quite a few raids across the border between 2009 and 2014. 

There was one even in January 2014, six months before the general election which the Congress was sure to lose. 

How come the Congress leadership never thought it fit to proclaim this achievement publicly? Any government that strikes militant camps across the border in retaliation for a terror strike deserves praise whether it is Congress or BJP. 

The hunters have become the hunted. In a span of just ten days, Indian politics has turned upside down proving once again that there is no substitute for smart realpolitik when it comes to changing public perception or mood. 

The Opposition’s reaction to the cross-border surgical raids has been a revelation so far and shows how much the political game has changed on the ground. On Sunday, at the huge BSP rally in Lucknow Mayawati apparently tied herself up in knots over the cross border operation. 

First, she praised it and then said it had been delayed. Then she criticised Modi for playing politics and warned her cadres not to be tempted by the BJP’s aggressive nationalistic campaigning. As if this was not enough, she warned that the borders of the country are not safe under Modi. 

The fact that the leader of an openly casteist regional party would devote time and space in her public speech to nationalism and cross border terrorism shows that the tremors from the midnight raid on Sept 29 has shaken up UP politics. 

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party heir apparent and Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party have either flip-flopped or indulged in similar semantic and rhetorical contortions to try and prevent BJP from capturing political capital out of the strike. 

It did not take long for Rahul Gandhi to show his true colours. His visceral hatred for Narendra Modi is there for everybody to see in his public speeches and his 360 degree turn from supporting Modi and the strikes to attacking him for alleged 'khoon ki dalali' can only be attributed to Congress panic over groundswell of support for Modi and the BJP.

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