Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh over the weekend attended two different events that were part of the "Tiranga yatra" and chose to not only defend the government but also attack the political opposition, besides placating certain sections of people who are up in arms â€” almost literally â€” against the Union government.
Speaking in Jammu on Sunday, Jaitley said of the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K): "Pakistan felt in 1990 that it can't win wars, and hence started infiltrating terrorists into J&K."
He also slammed the Congress for being anti-national, saying: "Four days ago, 'azadi' slogans were raised during a programme in Bangalore. Yesterday, I heard that the Karnataka home minister had said he feels whatever happened there wasn't wrong. There are a few political parties even today who exploit such issues for vote bank politics."
The Congress is in power in Karnataka, and Jaitley was seemingly blaming the party for giving the India unit of Amnesty International a clean chit after allegations that anti-India slogans were raised at a programme organised by the non-government organisation.
He added: "When anti-national slogans were raised in JNU, we were the only party who opposed it in and outside Parliament, whereas many political parties supported them. In fact the Congress vice-president went to JNU to support them." This was yet another dig at the Congress through Rahul Gandhi.
Later in the day, BJP National President Amit Shah raked up many of the same issues while speaking at another Tiranga yatra programme in Mangalore, Karnataka. He said: "Desh mein Freedom of speech hai. Kisi ke saamne koi vichaar rakhein...koi aapatti nahi. [There is freedom of speech in the country. We have no objection if you put forth your opinion anywhere.]"
However, he went on to add: "Rashtra ke viruddh ke vichar ko freedom of speech ka chola nahi pehnaya ja sakta. [Anti-national opinions cannot be disguised as freedom of speech.]"