ITANAGAR: With fervent nationalism becoming the flavour of the election season, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday questioned PM Modi’s patriotic credentials and accused him of not raising the issue of India’s “territorial integrity” during his meetings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The Congress leader claimed the prime minister “did not utter a word” on the boundary question when he hosted President Xi in his home state Gujarat a few years ago.

“During Xi Jinping’s meeting with PM Modi in India, the prime minister was seen sitting with him over a cup of tea without uttering a single word on the boundary dispute. Even during his (Modi) visit to China he never took up the Doklam issue,” Gandhi told an election rally in the Arunachal Pradesh capital.

India and China are locked in a protracted dispute over Arunachal Pradesh, often resulting in incursions by their respective armies into each other’s territory.

In June 2017, a military standoff occurred between China and India as Chinese soldiers attempted to extend a road on the Doklam plateau and Indian troops moved in to prevent them. India had claimed to have acted on behalf of Bhutan with which it has a ‘special relationship’.

“How can he (Modi) claim himself a Desh Bhakt (patriot) when he did not even take up the issue of the country’s territorial integrity? The country doesn’t want such patriots.”

“The people of Arunachal Pradesh are more patriotic as they are zealously protecting the country’s territory,” he said at the rally.

Gandhi said Narendra Modi had visited China “without an agenda” on the vexed boundary question.

The Congress president had recently called Modi “weak and scared” of the Chinese president, after Beijing once again blocked a UN resolution to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.

“Weak Modi is scared of Xi. Not a word comes out of his mouth when China acts against India. NoMos China diplomacy: 1. Swing with Xi in Gujarat. 2. Hug Xi in Delhi. 3. Bow to Xi in China,” Gandhi had said on Twitter.

The Congress president repeated his allegation that PM Modi continued to shoot for a documentary in the Corbett national park when the nation was mourning the killing of 40 CRPF personnel in a terror bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama.

Referring to the recent killing of three people in police firing during the agitation against permanent residency certificates to some sections in Arunachal Pradesh, he said,” Was there any necessity for police firing? The issue could have been resolved in other ways without harsh action.”

He alleged that it was the BJP’s “nature” to suppress those who dare to stand up against it.

Gandhi dubbed the prime minister as an “arrogant” leader who claimed India awoke only after the advent of his government in 2014. “He has no knowledge of the country’s strengths,” the Congress leader said.





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