Govt should come out with ‘more facts’ on Balakot strikes, ‘baffled’ by PM’s reaction: Pitroda
New Delhi: Congress leader Sam Pitroda on Friday asked the government to come out with “more facts” on the Balakot air strikes, and said that he was “baffled” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reaction to his question which he was entitled to ask.
Pitroda, chief of Indian Overseas Congress, also said it was good to have a debate, discussion, dialogue and discourse, and it does not amount to questioning anyone.
Earlier, Prime Minister Modi, using the hashtag ‘Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi’ (people will not forgive) in a tweet, attacked Pitroda for reportedly saying he wanted to “know more” about the Balakot air attack, including number of terrorists killed.
Several BJP leaders, including BJP chief Amit Shah, slammed Pitroda for his remarks.
“All I said is, can we get more facts, that’s all. I don’t know why this whole confusion… In democracy you are entitled to ask a question. It is good to have a debate, discussion, dialogue, discourse,” Pitroda told PTI.
“My asking a question should not create the kind of reaction it has created, even at the level of the prime minister. I am baffled,” the technocrat-turned-politician said.
Attacking Pitroda, Modi also said: “Loyal courtier of Congress’ royal dynasty admits what the nation already knew — Congress was unwilling to respond to forces of terror. This is a New India- we will answer terrorists in a language they understand and with interest!.”
He also asserted that he was neither questioning the armed forces as being alleged by the BJP and the prime minister nor the government.
“I am just saying give me more facts,” Pitroda said.
Days after the Pulwama suicide attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans, Indian Air Force fighter jets bombed JeM training camp near Balakot inside Pakistan on February 26.
Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations the next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.
He also asserted that his remarks were in his personal capacity and had nothing to do with the Congress.
Pitroda, a long-time friend of the Gandhi family, led the telecom revolution under Rajiv Gandhi when he set up the C-DOT. He worked on the Knowledge Commission and also founded National Innovation Council during the UPA rule.