23 press conferences in a day: Congress seeks to counter BJP on nationalism

The Congress on Saturday stepped up its offensive against the BJP over reports that one of the main accused in the killing of tailor Kanhaiyalal in Udaipur and a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant arrested in Jammu and Kashmir had links with the ruling party.

With the Monsoon Session of Parliament set to begin on June 18, the Congress is keen to keep the issue alive to corner the government and the ruling party on the issue of nationalism.

The Congress held 23 press conferences across the country on Saturday, accusing the ruling BJP of playing a “disgusting game” to hollow out the country under the garb of nationalism. Its spokespersons asked the BJP to introspect regarding how such elements were finding their way into its fold and provide an explanation for it.

The opposition party has already asked the NIA to expand its investigation into the Udaipur killing to probe the allegations that Mohammad Riyaz Attari, one of the main accused in the killing of Kanhaiyalal, had links with the BJP.

The Congress’s offensive stems from a fresh thinking in the party that the BJP needs to be countered strongly on its nationalism plank. On Saturday, the Congress attacked the BJP for allowing the production and import of polyester and machine-made national flags.

“The BJP has links with terrorists, what is this relationship called?…Today, 23 of our leaders and spokespersons exposed the BJP’s links with terrorists by holding press conferences in different cities of the country,” AICC general secretary in charge of communication department, Jairam Ramesh, said.

Sources in the party said its MPs will raise the issue in Parliament and seek answers from the government, signalling that the Monsoon Session could be a stormy affair.

Addressing a press conference in Raipur, Congress media department head Pawan Khera said the party never favoured doing politics on the issue of terrorism, but the way the “links of terrorists and criminals with the BJP are coming to light one after another, it has become necessary to ask questions and put facts before people”.

“In the garb of nationalism, the BJP is playing a disgusting game to hollow out the country,” he said.

In Mumbai, party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar raked up the Kandahar terrorist swap. He said the BJP government has the dubious distinction of having released dreaded terrorist Masood Azhar in 1999 during the Kandahar hijacking.

“Azhar went on to establish the Jaish-e-Muhammad terror group that was responsible for the 2001 Parliament attack and the 2008 Mumbai attacks that caused hundreds of deaths. Jaish also masterminded the 2019 Pulwama attack, in which 44 CRPF personnel died after 200 kg of high explosives, including RDX, somehow made it past multiple security checkpoints. Why an inquiry into Pulwama has not been held remains a mystery,” he said.

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