New Delhi, March 4: Congress leader Manish Tewari accused Amit Shah on Monday of using India's airstrikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed for political gain, pointing to the BJP president's claim that more than 250 terrorists were killed in the operation.
Made furious by a suicide bombing that killed 40 of its paramilitary personnel, India said last week it had carried out a pre-emptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot, located in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. A ministry of external affairs statement made on the same day said a large number of terrorists had been eliminated.
Later, the Indian Air Force said there was evidence that its jets had hit their intended targets but that it was premature to assess casualties.
Manish Tewari referred to the IAF's description of what unfolded in Balakot when he asked, of Amit Shah's remarks: "Is this not milking airstrikes for politics?"
He tweeted, "AVM RGK Kapoor said "it would be premature to say that what is the number of casualties that we have been able to inflict on those camps and what is the number of deaths," BUT @AmitShah says over 250 Terrorists killed in the airstrike. Is this not milking Air Strikes for Politics????"
P Chidambaram, also a top Congress leader, asked who put out the number of casualties at 300-350.
Chidambaram said it was the political party behind the government which had fed the news that over 300 or 350 jihadis had been killed. He also praised the Air Force and the MEA for what he said were restrained statements.
"As a proud citizen, I am prepared to believe my government. But if we want the world to believe, the government must make the effort, not indulge in Opposition-bashing," Chidambaram tweeted on Monday.