"Nationalism Not BJP's Monopoly": Congress Hits Back After Row Over China

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 Congress Hits Back After Row Over China

Manish Tewari accused the centre of trying to push the issue of Chinese incursion in cold storage

New Delhi:

The Congress on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi how much of India's land had been occupied by the Chinese army and what he was doing to remove them from the Indian territory as it hit back at the government for dodging real questions with political brick-batting.

"We want to tell them that patriotism and nationalism is not the exclusive monopoly of the NDA-BJP and much less the law minister," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, responding to Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's attack on party leader Rahul Gandhi.

"Asking hard questions to the government is not unpatriotic, not replying to them is unpatriotic," he said.

Mr Tewari said former army generals and defence experts feared that around 40-60 square kilometres of Indian territory had been "illegally occupied" by China.

Mr Tewari asked PM Modi who was responsible for it and whether he would fix any responsibility.

"We also want to ask the prime minister about the Chinese intrusion. How did the Chinese soldiers enter India?" Mr Tewari asked at an online press conference.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged since May 5 following a violent clash in Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.

The trigger for the face-off was China's stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake, besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.

"Who is responsible for this? Will the government decide its accountability? The country wants to know this. Is it a fact that the Chinese have illegally occupied 40-60 sq km of Indian territory?" Mr Tewari said.

"We want to ask the prime minister what the government is doing to remove the Chinese army from the Pangong Tso Lake in Galwan Valley, where China is sitting with its soldiers and tents," he asked.

He accused the centre of trying to push the issue in cold storage

Hitting back at Ravi Shankar Prasad for his attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Mr Tewari said the Union Law Minister made a "very unfair and completely irresponsible" political attack.

According to Mr Tewari, it is unfortunate that rather than answering questions, the government was using "abrasive language" against the opposition party.

He said the government should direct India's national angst against those who have encroached upon Indian territory, rather than its political opponents and added that the Congress was posing questions as a responsible opposition party.

(With inputs from PTI)

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