BJP Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni on Thursday slammed former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat for calling the Pakistan Army chief “brother”, drawing a sharp reaction from the Congress leader who said he doesn’t need a lecture on nationalism from him.
“If there was nothing wrong in Narendra Modi going uninvited to Nawaz Sharif’s birthday and hugging him, how could Mr. Sidhu hugging Mr. Bajwa be an act of sedition,” he had said.
Mr. Rawat recently in a tweet justified his party’s Punjab unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s act of hugging Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in of Imran Khan in Islamabad, asking how could one Punjabi “bhra” [brother] hugging another be an act of sedition.
Objecting to it, Mr. Baluni said it was “unfortunate and hurting” that Mr. Rawat had used the word for someone “whose hands are steeped in the blood of India’s brave soldiers”.
“What sort of politics of appeasement is this,” he asked.
“It is more shocking as it comes from a man who belongs to Devbhoomi where every family has someone in the armed forces,” Mr. Baluni said.
The BJP MP also lashed out at Mr. Rawat for praising Mr. Sidhu.
“How could he praise Sidhu who has been described by his own senior party colleague and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as a threat to national security,” Mr. Baluni asked referring to a comment by the ex-Punjab Chief Minister, who resigned from the post recently. Mr. Rawat, who is also the chief of the Congress campaign committee in poll-bound Uttarakhand, said he does not want a lecture from his BJP friends on nationalism and martyrdom.
He said his relatives are in the armed forces from the rank of a jawan to a brigadier. Mr. Rawat said he was proud of the fact that his son-in-law attained martyrdom fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Baluni does not need reminding me of our great military traditions,” he said.
Justifying his description of Mr. Bajwa as Punjabi “brother”, he said that part of India’s Punjab which is now in Pakistan is also called Punjab.