"Have the Chinese occupied Indian territory in Ladakh?" - Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning.
Rahul Gandhi's retort today to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's poetic dig was a question, straight up - "Have the Chinese occupied Indian territory in Ladakh?" The Congress leader's tweet taking on Home Minister Amit Shah had set off a war of couplets on Monday.
"Once RM (Rajnath Singh) is done commenting on the hand symbol, can he answer: Have the Chinese occupied Indian territory in Ladakh?" - Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning.
Last evening, Rajnath Singh had taken a swipe at the Congress party using its "hand symbol" in a tweaked version of an Urdu poet's creation.
It all started with Mr Gandhi targeting Amit Shah over his statement at a virtual rally about the surgical and air strikes after the terror attacks in Uri and Pulwama showed that India's defence policy was strong and the country knows how to protect its borders.
"India's defence policy has gained global acceptance. The whole world agrees that after US and Israel if there is any other country that is able to protect its borders, it is India," Mr Shah had said.
Mr Gandhi reacted by using an often-quoted couplet by legendary Urdu-Persian poet Mirza Ghalib. "Everyone knows the reality of 'Seema' (Border) but to keep the heart happy, 'Shah-yad' it is a good idea," Rahul Gandhi tweeted sarcastically.
सब को मालूम है 'सीमा' की हक़ीक़त लेकिन,
दिल के ख़ुश रखने को, 'शाह-यद' ये ख़्याल अच्छा है।https://t.co/cxo9mgQx5K
Hours later, came Rajnath Singh's reply. "When there is a pain in the hand then get treatment, but what should one do when the hand is the pain itself," he tweeted.
मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब का ही शेर थोड़ा अलग अन्दाज़ में है। '
'हाथ' में दर्द हो तो दवा कीजै,
'हाथ' ही जब दर्द हो तो क्या कीजै.. https://t.co/k1fhnI6K4N
The couplet was authored by 20th century poet Manzar Lakhnavi. Mr Singh improvised by replacing 'heart' with 'hand' in the lines.
Mr Gandhi has been questioning the government's response to Chinese aggression in Ladakh at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the two countries.
Tension between the two sides sharply escalated after reports of skirmishes between soldiers in the Pangong Lake region on May 5 and May 6.
According to sources quoted by Press Trust of India, the Chinese Army has been gradually ramping up its strategic reserves in its rear bases near the LAC by rushing in artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment. 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 the construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley, PTI said quoting sources.
In a meeting between top military officers on Saturday, India and China agreed to "peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements", the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.