On the day the Congress launched its Lok Sabha election campaign from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf of Gujarat invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Modi and Arun Jaitley said the Congress culture is the "anti-thesis of Gandhian thought" and raised questions on its commitment to national security.
While Modi, in a blog, claimed that his government is fulfilling "Mahatma Gandhi's dream of freeing India from the Congress", the finance minister lauded the 2016 post-Uri surgical strike and last month's Balakot strike as examples of Modi "evolving" the national security doctrine and hit out at the Congress.
"When India battles ultra-Left and Jehadi terrorists, when it is faced with serious threat of cross border terrorism, how does India respond? This is a choice before the electorate in the 2019 general elections. Can an over-ground ally of Left wing extremism be put in power at New Delhi? Can those who have weakened the battle against terror for the cause of vote bank politics be trusted? Should not those who have played into the Pakistani hands be taught a severe lesson in these elections?" he asked.
"The answer to the above question is a big 'yes'. This country is safe and secure under the NDA government led by Prime Minister Modi," he said.
In his blog, Modi said: "Gandhiji had understood the Congress culture very well, which is why he wanted the Congress disbanded, especially after 1947. Bapu spoke about detachment and staying away from excess wealth. However, all that Congress has done is to fill their own bank accounts and lead luxurious lifestyles at the cost of providing basic necessities to the poor.
"Bapu despised dynastic politics but dynasty is the way for the Congress today. Always eager to promote dynastic culture, Congress has no regard for democratic values," the prime minister said.
Recalling the September 2016 surgical strikes, Jaitley claimed India had crossed the LoC for the first time since 1971 war.
He also referred to the February 26 strike by the air force on the JeM terror camp at Balakot insisting that it "destroyed the camp causing severe losses of the terrorist infrastructure comprising of men, material and premises".
Claiming that the Congress is disturbed by the political fallout caused by the pro-active approach by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaitley criticised the Congress which "repeatedly rubbishes the surgical strikes", whose conduct is "even more dubious" when it came to the recent air strikes.
He accused the Congress of scoring a "self-goal" in domestic politics and "playing into the hands of Pakistan".