Congress did not honour Kargil Vijay Diwas from 2004 to 2009


Congress for long considered Kargil War as BJP’s victory rather than that of the nation and its armed forces, party leader Rashid Alvi had in 2009 said that ‘Kargil isn’t a thing to be celebrate’ and that it is only the ‘NDA which may celebrate’

During the Kargil war, the Indian Army evicted Pakistani intruders and succeeded in recapturing the Tiger Hill and other posts as a part of Operation Vijay. PTI

New Delhi: The Congress on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas on Tuesday paid homage to the valour of Indian armed forces for having worsted Pakistan in the 1999 Kargil War, but the party ostensibly for purely political reasons and its BJP-hate did not commemorate the Indian victory for five years from 2004 to 2009.

It was only after widespread embarrassment in 2009 owing to a Parliamentary question as why the Congress-led UPA government, which came into power at the Centre in 2004, did not celebrate the Kargil Vijay Diwas, that the then Defence Minister had assured that commemoration would be done going forward.

In a clear suggestion that Congress for long considered Kargil War as BJP’s victory rather than that of the nation and its armed forces, party leader Rashid Alvi had in 2009 said that “Kargil isn’t a thing to be celebrate” and that it is only the “NDA which may celebrate”.

An India Today article from 15 July 2009, quoted Alvi as having said, “Kargil isn’t a thing to be celebrated. The war was fought within our territory. We didn’t even come to know when the Pakistani army crossed over and built bunkers inside our territory. It’s only the NDA which may celebrate”.

In 2009, it was after a hiatus of five years that a Union minister was to attend the Kalgil Vijay Diwas celebrations. Then Defence Minister AK Antony was to lay a wreath in solemn remembrance of the fallen warriors in the Kargil War at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

Hindustan Times had quoted a senior Indian Army official back then, saying that the army had been commemorating the Kargil Vijay Diwas at their own level and there was no political participation.
The same article also quoted another Indian Army official, who had requested anonymity. He had said that senior politicians of the UPA government had not taken part on the commemorations till 2009.

HT also cited a message from a Defence Ministry spokesperson saying that the Defence Minister, along with the three service chief would be laying wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tribute to the martyrs of Kargil War.

“We are planning to observe the occasion in Kargil on a large scale by bringing the relatives of the martyrs to the area. Last year we held a wreath-laying ceremony, released advertisements in newspapers and television channels, the sanction for which had come at the last moment,” HT had quoted an army official as having said.

Much of Congress’ heartburn was owing to the fact that the Kargil conflict took place during the tenure of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre and the Grand Old party did not want to give BJP the credit for the incredible win.

According to several reports, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had chosen not to attend the all-party meetings called by then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee to discuss the Kargil conflict, rather demanded that an emergency session of Rajya Sabha to discuss the Kargil situation.

Meanwhile, though Congress claimed back in 2009 that it had always celebrated the Kargil Vijay Diwas, Parliamentary history differs.

Now Union minister Rajeev Chadrasekhar had on 21 July requested the Secretary General of Rajya Sabha that he wanted to mention commemoration of Kargil Vijay Diwas as a matter of urgent public importance on 23 July, 2009. The matter was mentioned. In reply the then Defence Minister AK Antony wrote to Chandrasekhar: “Keeping in view the precedence and to honour the martyrs, a homage ceremony will be organized also this year at Amar Jawan Jyoti on 26th July, 2010.”

The operative word was “also”.

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