Now, Manish Tewari’s book excerpt sparks row, BJP accuses UPA of being soft on terror

File image of Congress MP Manish Tewari | Photo: ANI via Lok Sabha TV
File image of Congress MP Manish Tewari | Photo: ANI via Lok Sabha TV

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New Delhi: A short excerpt from a yet-to-be-released book by Congress MP Manish Tewari has stoked fresh controversy for his party. The excerpt, tweeted by Tewari Tuesday, claimed that the Indian government, then helmed by the Congress-led UPA, should have taken stricter action against Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

The excerpt, from the book 10 Flash Points; 20 Years — National Security Situations that Impacted India, included a sentence stating that “India should have actioned a kinetic response in the days following India’s 9/11”.

“For a state that has no compunctions in brutally slaughtering hundreds of innocent people, restraint is not a sign of strength; it is perceived as a symbol of weakness. There comes a time when actions must speak louder than words. 26/11 was one such time when it just should have been done. It, therefore, is my considered opinion India should have actioned a kinetic response in the days following India’s 9/11”, the excerpt read.

The excerpt has drawn a sharp reaction from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with leaders claiming that the UPA’s approach towards terrorism had been “weak and loose” while it was in power.

The Congress has refused to comment on the matter — party spokesperson Pawan Khera said at a press conference that “we will react on the book when it releases and we’ve read it” — but Tewari has tried to play down the controversy, questioning the BJP’s reaction to “one excerpt from a 304-page book”.

The storm around Tewari’s book comes days after another Congress leader, Salman Khurshid, courted controversy earlier this month for drawing comparisons between radical Islamic group ISIS and Hindutva, in a new book Sunrise Over Ayodhya.

Also read: In Rajasthan, Gandhis are repeating Punjab crisis. This time with Gehlot and Pilot

BJP on Tewari’s book excerpt

“Be it 26/11 or others, the country knows how overall situation was handled. (We) don’t want to politicise. Policy of Modi government is of zero tolerance towards terrorism,” Union Minister Pralhad Joshi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“Manish Tewari is saying absolutely the right thing. Because UPA government approach against terrorism was weak and loose (sic),” Joshi added.

BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya drew a parallel between the controversy stirred by Khurshid’s book and the one created by the excerpt from Tewari’s, and commented that another Congress leader had thrown “UPA under the bus” to “sell his book”.

“After Salman Khurshid, another Congress leader throws UPA under the bus to sell his book. Manish Tewari in his new book slams the UPA for weakness in the name of restrain (sic) post 26/11. Air Chief Marshal Fali Major is already on record saying IAF was ready to strike but UPA froze,” said Malviya in a tweet.

However, Tewari responded to this backlash by tweeting, “I am rather amused at @BJP4India reaction to one excerpt from a 304 Page book that tries to dissect responses to National Security Situations that Impacted India. I wonder would they react similarly to some ‘hard analysis’ about their handling of the National Security Remit also?”

Congress spokesperson Khera, meanwhile, said, “I’m not in favour of the party commenting on a leader’s personal opinions. Every leader has their own thought, and they can say what they want to in their personal capacity.”

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: BJP’s Rafale attack on Congress isn’t flogging a dead horse. There is a method


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