Congress on Saturday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “hiding” the fact that he had greeted his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan on that country's national day.
“So now Imran Khan has to tell us that Prime Minister Modi sent good wishes to him on Pakistan's National Day,” former External Affairs Minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said here.
The Congress attack came at a time when government officials were seen dissuading invitees from attending a function at the Pakistan High Commission here on Friday evening on the eve of the Pakistan National Day.
BJP President Amit Shah dismissed the Congress criticism as a “face-saving exercise”. “This is a face-saving exercise after their true face was exposed. This is not going to help,” Shah said referring to the remarks made by Congress strategist Sam Pitroda questioning the Balakot airstrikes.
Congress' chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala accused the government of playing out a “soap opera” on muscular Pakistan policy before the people and the media.
“Mr 56” of the Sari-Shawl-Impromptu Pak visit for Birthday-ISI invite fame diplomacy was feeling very shy yesterday. Guess? Chowkidar hid the fact that he had wished Pak PM on Pak National Day without a word on Pak terrorism,” Surjewala said
Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi wanted the Prime Minister to clarify whether the information shared by Pakistan Prime Minister on Twitter on Friday was the correct version of the greetings sent by the Modi government.
India had boycotted a reception at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to mark the event after the invite was extended to several separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir as well.
Modi, in his message to Khan, had said it was time for the people of the sub-continent to work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.
Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said if Modi government was only following the custom of exchanging greetings on the National Day of the country, sending a representative to attend a function at the Pakistan High Commission was also a custom.
“Can’t pick & choose which customs we like & which we don’t,” Abdullah said.