<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Taking the ongoing battle over the surgical strikes by the Army to another level, the Congress on Monday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for using the sacrifices of the Indian soldiers for his political gains and garner votes in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh and Punjab polls. Addressing a press conference here, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala re-iterated that the UPA Government in its days had never politicised or beat the drum when they conducted surgical strikes, ‘because those who were supposed to get a strong response got the message and we were satisfied by that’, adding that ‘our brave Armed Forces were behind the victory and our government never tried to take credit for it.’ ‘Sacrifices made the army are being used to garner votes in U.P and Bihar. Our soldiers are being killed and the felicitation of our Defence Minister and posters lauding the Centre being put is a clear example of the government’s intentions,’ he said. Quoting former Army Chiefs, he further said that surgical strikes have been conducted throughout the years, but were never blown out of proportion or made a huge deal about, as they were covert operations with a certain purpose.Maintaining that the steps taken by the Prime Minister following the surgical strikes have been nothing but an insult to the Army, Surjewala called on the Centre to stop using the mission as a weapon for their political gain. Posing a question to the Prime Minister, the Congress leader asked that if he indeed was so concerned about the well being of army personnel, when why was his government so against the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.’Why are you against implementing OROP’ And why have you announced that the disability pensions of defence personnel have been halved since September 30th 2016′ Apologise to the nation and the army and fulfil your OROP promise,’ he said.Meanwhile, in the wake of the escalation of a war of words between the BJP and the Congress following a revelation that the Indian Army had conducted a surgical strike on Pakistani military outposts earlier in 2011, former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said his former cabinet colleague P. Chidambaram made this disclosure to put the record straight as the incumbent regime was trying to create an impression that the UPA did nothing in its tenure.’This has been said very categorically by former home minister P. Chidambaram and it’s also been validated and repeated by other people. This has been said only for this purpose that an impression was being created by the government of the day that we never did anything when we were in power, I think that was unfair,’ Khurshid told ANI.As per reports, the Indian Army had carried out surgical strikes across the LoC in 2011 in retaliation to a surprise attack on an army post in Gugaldhar ridge in Kupwara in July that year which led to the death of 13 soldiers and beheading of six of them. In revenge, the Indian Army planned Operation Ginger.
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