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Does Kargil War Victory Continue to Rankle the Congress?

Congress hatred for Kargil war victory

In a controversial decision, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has reportedly removed the chapter on Kargil war victory from the syllabus of a prestigious college in Bhopal. This has created a furore in the state.

With this move of the Kamal Nath government, the question that arises is, what is the problem in teaching students about the heroism of Indian soldiers who had chased out the invaders defying all odds?

This move of the Kamal Nath government seems to be in sync with Congress party’s uncomfortable equation with glorious military moments that happen under non-Congress governments. This can be seen in their reaction to the surgical strikes as well. However, this trend truly began with the Kargil war victory that happened when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at the helm.

The Congress-led Opposition’s Reaction to Kargil War

During the Kargil war, the Congress party was in the opposition and Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government was at the helm of the affairs.

A story by India Today covering the then political situation had said, “As the Kargil conflict approached its third month last week, the Opposition, notably the Congress, was restless as the spell of enforced quietness ate into the 11 weeks left for the general election. Their fear is that the BJP may steal the credit for chasing out the Pakistan-backed intruders, presenting it as “our war”.”

Leading the Opposition’s charge, the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, “We cannot leave the fate of the country in the hands of an incompetent caretaker government (BJP) and hence we have demanded a special session of the Rajya Sabha.” Her remark was in tune with the general reaction of the Congress party to Kargil war, mocking Prime Minister Vajpayee and burning his effigies across the country.

Congress’s Disdain for Kargil War Victory

The above reaction was during the war itself. But despite the conclusion of war and India’s victory over Pakistan, Congress leaders continued to show their contempt for it. In 2009, it was a senior Congress leader and an MP, Rashid Alvi who said that Kargil victory is only for NDA to celebrate.

Further, Congress-led UPA government did not officially celebrate the Kargil Vijay Diwas from 2004-2009 (during its first term) and surprisingly, it had no future plans too if the matter was not brought to the government as well as public’s notice by  Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an independent member of parliament then.

Here is his tweet.

Congress reacted sharply to his tweet saying that they have always observed the Kargil Vijay Diwas.

A story by Outlook India, bringing some clarity on the issue, said, “Prior to 2010, Vijay Diwas celebrations were conducted largely by the defence forces and the government wasn’t seen leading the event. A Congress insider said the feeling was that the party did not want to give credit to the BJP for the victory in Kargil.”

This shows that Congress has not yet internalized the Kargil war victory and treats this as BJP’s war. So, the latest news of removal of a chapter on Kargil war should not surprise us.