New Delhi: In yet another sign of growing discord within Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Congress leader and state minister Nitin Raut on Tuesday lashed out at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar for defending the Centre over the June 15 incident in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, remarking that he should have instead asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak on the issue. Also Read - 'Galwan Valley Incident Can't be Immediately Labelled as Failure': Pawar Sides With Centre on Ladakh Standoff
Speaking to media today, the minister said, “When China captured our territory in 1962, situation was different. Sharad Pawar should have rectified mistakes when he was Defence Minister under Congress rule. Instead of commenting on Rahul Gandhi’s remark, he should’ve advised PM to speak on issue”.
Notably, speaking on former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s constant attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘surrendering’ to China in Ladakh, Pawar, also a former three-term Chief Minister of Maharashtra, had on Saturday sided with the Centre, saying, among other things, that the incident cannot be blamed on the Narendra Modi government as Indian soldiers were alert while patrolling, adding that the matters of national security cannot be politicised.
The NCP chief was the country’s Defence Minister from June 1991-March 1993 in the Congress government under then-Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. At present, Congress and NCP run the Maharashtra government with the Shiv Sena, whose chief Uddhav Thackeray is also the Chief Minister.
India and China have been at loggerheads in Ladakh since early May. However, in a violent escalation, Chinese troops on June 15 night ambushed Indian soldiers, resulting in the martyrdom of 20 Indian troops, including a Colonel. 76 Indian soldiers were injured as well.
Deaths and injuries have been reported on the Chinese side as well though Beijing is yet to publically announce its figures. There are, however, reports that the number of fatalities is higher in the Chinese side.