'Congress compromising national security,' Piyush Goyal on Punjab crisis
Targeting the Indian National Congress over the political crisis in Punjab, Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday slammed the party, saying that it is "compromising on national security for petty, personal, or political gains of few people." Goyal's comments came after Congress' former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh alleged that former state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu posed a threat to national security.
In an interview with ANI, Goyal backed Amarinder Singh's concerns about national security, saying that it is a matter of "deep concern." "Any instability and the kind of concerns Amarinder Singh has expressed, threats to national security on borders of Punjab are a matter of very deep concern...Any of the actions of the Congress leading to this are truly a worry for the country."
Saying that the developments in Punjab are a matter of concern for the Centre, Goyal said, "National security comes first for us (the BJP government)." He further said that the BJP's idea of public service is "nation first, party next, and self last."
Goyal further said none of Congress's actions seem to suggest that they have any concern for national security or interest. "The current Congress leadership seems to be completely disconnected with concerns of the nation," he said, adding that he hopes the party leadership does some introspection. Except for Congress' G-23 leaders, no other leadership has expressed similar concerns about Punjab's political turmoil, Goyal added.
The G-23 is a group of 23 senior Congress leaders who had written an explosive letter last year demanding full-time leadership after Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress chief. On the Punjab crisis, some G-23 leaders demanded an immediate meeting of the party's highest decision-making body. Among them, Kapil Sibal questioned who was taking decisions in the party in the absence of a full-time chief.
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi's constant attack on the BJP-led Centre, Goyal said other than making some caustic comments, there is hardly any agenda of nation-building in them. "I think, it's almost become like a joke," Goyal said, "Some of the comments and tweets that we keep receiving from certain individuals in India are to the extent that their party doesn't take it seriously."
Singh resigned as Punjab CM on September 18 after a months-long power tussle between him and former Punjab Congress chief Sidhu. After resigning from his post, Singh made some sharp-edged comments against his bête noire Sidhu, calling him "anti-national" and "dangerous for the state." Singh also alleged that Sidhu has connections with the Pakistani establishment, which does not suit the border state of Punjab.