The government’s silence over the leaked WhatsApp chats of TV anchor Arnab Goswami on the Balakot strikes is “deafening”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said today, alleging that national security had been “thoroughly compromised”.
In her opening remarks at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Sonia Gandhi also took on the government over the farmer protests, alleging “shocking insensitivity and arrogance” and what she called a charade of consultations between the centre and protesters.
“Very recently there have been very disturbing reports on how national security has been so thoroughly compromised. I think just a few days back, Antony-ji (former Defence Minister AK Antony) had said that leaking of official secrets of military operations is treason. Yet the silence from the Government’s side on what has been revealed has been deafening,” Sonia Gandhi said in her virtual address.
“Those who give certificates of patriotism and nationalism to others now stand totally exposed.”
In its investigations into a TV ratings scam, Mumbai Police has submitted to a court WhatsApp transcripts of chats between Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO of ratings agency BARC, which reveal the TV anchor as saying three days before the Balakot strike that “something big will happen”, that it would be “bigger than a normal strike” and “the government is confident of striking in a way that people will be elated.”
The conversation is dated February 23, 2019, three days before India sent Air Force fighter jets to Balakot in Pakistan to destroy a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror base in retaliation for the terror attack in Pulwama, in which over 40 soldiers were killed.
On the farmers’ agitation, Sonia Gandhi said it was clear that the three farm laws that have triggered the massive protests outside Delhi, were prepared in haste.
“The agitation of farmers continues and the government has shown shocking insensitivity and arrogance going through the charade of consultations,” Sonia Gandhi remarked.
“It is abundantly clear that the three laws were prepared in haste and Parliament was consciously denied an opportunity for examining in any meaningful details their implications and impacts. Our position has been very clear from the very beginning: we reject them categorically because they will destroy the foundations of food security that are based on the three pillars of MSP (Minimum Support Price), public procurement and PDS (Public Distribution System).”
The Congress Working Committee, the opposition party’s highest decision-making body, began a series of meetings today to discuss the election of a new party president.
Sonia Gandhi took over as interim Congress president in August 2019 after her son Rahul Gandhi resigned owning the party’s national election defeat.