Indian National Congress on Thursday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over sending an invitation to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the oath-taking ceremony of India’s PM-elect Narendra Modi, Indian media reported on Thursday.
“Throughout the election campaign, you saw a lot of anti-Pakistan rhetoric which was articulated by the BJP in a language which was extremely vociferous to say the least. And now you have this invitation to prime minister of Pakistan.”
“So, therefore, it is for BJP to introspect as to whether terror and invitations can go hand in hand,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
Noting that while it was the prerogative of the elected government to invite whosoever they want for their swearing-in ceremony, Tewari said the BJP should not forget that Manmohan Singh had come under attack from them for carrying forward the process of normalising relations with the neighbour initiated by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
He said that Singh had come under lot of criticism from BJP during the talks with Pakistan in Havana, in New York and in Sharm el-Sheikh that “terror and talks cannot go hand in hand”. T
The Congress leader’s remark came against the backdrop of SAARC heads of state and government, including Nawaz, been invited to Modi’s swearing-in on May 26.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said that formal invitation has been received but any decision to attend the ceremony on May 26 in New Delhi will be taken later.
Indian Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi’s invitation to Nawaz received flack from many leaders of the opposition, some even calling the move hypocritical.
BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar jumped in to defend the party’s move and said, “Atal ji had said you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your neighbours, Modi ji is following just that.”
Omar Abdullah said, “At the same time I can’t help wonder what BJP would have said if a PM-designate Rahul Gandhi had done the same thing.”