New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi distanced himself and his party from remarks by party leader Digvijaya Singh who said evidence was needed for surgical strikes carried out on Pakistani territory.

Addressing the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Gandhi said during a meeting with Bharat Jodo Yatra media in Jammu’s Nagrota on Tuesday: “I disagree with Digvijay Singh’s statement. We trust the army. The army does not need to clarify what it is doing.

He added: “We are a democratic party. We are not a dictatorship. We don’t value Digvijay Singh’s opinions. I can assure you that Digvijay Singh’s views are not shared by the party.

On Monday, Singh said, “Forty of our CRPF jawans were martyred in Pulwama. CRPF officials had asked PM Modi for the personnel to be airlifted, but PM Modi did not agree. How did such a slip-up happen? To date, no report on Pulwama has been submitted to Parliament. Singh is no stranger to controversy: he had raised doubts about the 2008 Batla House meeting in New Delhi.

The BJP launched a scathing attack on Congress asking Gandhi why it took him “so many years” to say he respected India’s armed forces. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also asked the opposition leader what was the “limit of personal opinions” of his party colleagues.

The BJP also asked the Congress leadership to clarify its position on terrorism and national security.

“I ask Rahul Gandhi, why did it take him years to publicly state that he respects the institution of the armed forces? The fact is, he really doesn’t,” Mr Prasad said. The BJP leader asserted that India does not seek proof of the valor of its armed forces, only respects their sacrifices.

The former Union minister also questioned why Rahul Gandhi couldn’t make Singh respect the armed forces during his ‘miles long’ Bharat Jodo Yatra. “What is the message of this yatra as some of its great leaders are engaged in the Bharat Todo Yatra,” the BJP leader said.

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