Sena slams Modi's Pak policy, sparks fly between Congress and BJP

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Mumbai/New Delhi, Jan 5: Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NDA ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday, Jan 5 blamed the Pathankot attack on his Lahore diplomacy, saying it was time for him to focus on India rather than "trying to unite the world" even as sparks flew between BJP and Congress over his Pakistan policy.

"Seven of our soldiers get martyred in return for a cup of tea with Nawaz Sharif," said the Sena, which shares an uneasy alliance with its senior partner BJP, adding it had warned Modi not to trust Pakistan.


Modi paid a surprise visit to Lahore and met the Pakistan Premier on December 25. In a hard-hitting editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana', the Sena said, "The Prime Minister was in Lahore only last week as a guest of his counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

At that time, we had warned him not to trust Pakistan." "See how we have been betrayed today." The Sena also said that had the Congress been in power today, there would have been demands to strike at Pakistan and avenge the deaths of soldiers, but now nothing is being done about the attack on IAF base in Pathankot in Punjab last Saturday in which seven security personnel were killed.

"The only national work being done is condoling the deaths of soldiers on (social networking site) twitter. But why have these soldiers died? PM Modi is trying to unite the world, but time has now come for him to concentrate on India," it said.

The Congress accused Modi of reversing India's foreign policy from "outcomes to optics", as it stepped up its attack over government's handling of ties with Pakistan. Party spokesperson Anand Sharma asked as to what assurances the Prime Minister received from Pakistan to prompt his "surprise trip" to Lahore.

Dismissing PM's visit as a "dramatic gesture", Sharma, who is also former Minister of State of External Affairs, said, "UPA government and its then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh preferred outcomes over optics. Now this has been reversed by optics coming first. Optics have taken place in Lahore".

"The Prime Minister should now tell what are the outcomes. While we support dialogue, we want to make it clear that our security and integrity are non-negotiable," Sharma said at a news conference in Delhi.

In a hard-hitting response, the BJP said the Congress attack on Modi government's Pakistan policy was "shameful" and "untrue" that will "boost the morale of people with anti-national mindset".

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that Congress was questioning those who are fighting to eliminate terrorism instead of the actions of terrorists. "For the last few days Congress has been speaking in this voice.

But it has crossed all limits today. At a time when it should stand with the sentiments of people, it is questioning the martyrdom of our martyrs (soldiers)... "What is unfortunate is that Congress is trying to mislead the country and create confusion on such a sensitive issue and it in a way boosts the morale of people with anti-national mindset. What it has said is shameful and untrue.

Such irresponsible statements shows its irresponsible behaviour on the matter of national security and respect," he told a press conference in Delhi.


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