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Row over Aiyar's Pak atom bomb remarks; BJP says Cong 'apologist' of Pakistan

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Mani Shankar Aiyar

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar (File image)

New Delhi: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's remarks on Pakistan sparked a row on Friday, with his party quick to dissociate itself from the comments while the BJP latched on to them, accusing the party of being an apologist for Pakistan and the terrorism emanating from its soil.

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Aiyar said the video was old and dredged up now as the BJP's election campaign is faltering.

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In comments which have gone viral on social media, Aiyar is heard saying that India should give respect to Pakistan as it is a sovereign nation and engage with it as it also possesses an atom bomb.

He indicated in the video that if a "mad person" comes to power there and uses the atom bomb, it will not be good and will have its effect here too.

Also read | After Chaiwala and Neech, did Mani Shankar Aiyar call Modi a 'madman'?

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As the remarks triggered a row, the Congress said it totally disagrees with the remarks made by Aiyar some months ago.

Aiyar does not speak for the party in any capacity whatsoever, Congress media department chairperson Pawan Khera said on X.

"Indian National Congress dissociates itself completely from and disagrees totally with some remarks made by Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar few months back which have been revived today by the BJP in its attempt to deflect attention from Prime Minister Modi’s daily goof ups. Mr Aiyar does not speak for the party in any capacity whatsoever," Khera said.

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Uploading a video of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Khera said, "If old videos are to be used, here is a not so old video where the External Affairs Minister is publicly advising India to be afraid of China." Seeking to corner the opposition party in the middle of the high-stakes general elections, BJP fielded Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar to attack the Congress.

He said Aiyar wants India to fear Pakistan and give it respect. The "new India" does not fear anyone, he said, claiming that his comments have highlighted the intentions, policies and ideology of the Congress.

"The Congress under Rahul Gandhi has become an apologist and defender of Pakistan and its terrorism," he told reporters.

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The BJP leader cited recent comments of more Congress leaders to make his point.

The leader of opposition in Maharashtra, Vijay Wadettiwar had said that IPS officer Hemant Karkare was killed by a cop affiliated to the RSS and not Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab and former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi had dismissed a recent terror incident in Poonch in which an Air Force official died as a poll stunt, he noted.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh had suggested that the Mumbai terror attack was a RSS conspiracy, he alleged.

The Congress acts, talks and behaves like an apologist for Pakistan's terrorism, Chandrasekhar said.

As the Congress did recently with Sam Pitroda, who was accused of making racist comments, it will distance itself from Aiyar but it is clear that there is a pattern to the remarks made by its leaders, he said.

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