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June 1, 1999
Congress backs Operation Vijay
The Congress today reiterated its support to Operation Vijay but blamed the government for its ''criminal negligence and complacence resulting in breach of national security''.
The Congress Working Committee, which devoted its two-hour meeting exclusively to this issue, has adopted an unanimous resolution.
''A proper intelligence assessment of the ground realities was not undertaken before Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Lahore bus diplomacy,'' the resolution said. ''This reveals a level of inexperience, naivete and immaturity of the political executive of the day.''
Briefing the media after the meeting, party general secretary Pranab Mukherjee said the government was engaged in salvaging the tattered remains of its failed diplomacy by exculpating Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief and his government, including the Inter-Services Intelligence, for the recent events.
''There is no justification to exonerate the Pakistani authorities by the Vajpayee government,'' the resolution said.
The party condemned the statement of Defence Minister George Fernandes to this effect and said this was totally uncalled for.
He owes an explanation to the nation, Mukherjee said.
The CWC called upon the government to ensure that the interests of the nation are placed first so that the sacrifices of the armed forces did not go in vain. It is only by vigilance on all fronts -- military, diplomatic and political -- that the danger to the nation can be averted, it said.
Describing the presence of serving defence officers at the Bharatiya Janata Party national executive as 'highly objectionable,' Mukherjee said it was totally unacceptable and should not have happened.
The prime minister or the defence minister could have convened meetings where these officers or others could have been present.
Replying to a question about the BJP distancing itself from Fernandes' statement, Mukherjee said he would not be surprised if Cabinet ministers too distanced themselves from this controversial statement.
Earlier, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who presided over the meeting, briefed the CWC on her meeting with the prime minister on Kargil yesterday.
The CWC had invited Congress foreign department chief K Natwar Singh to brief them on the Kargil situation.
Asked whether the CWC would press for a Rajya Sabha session to discuss the issue, Mukherjee said, ''The party had already articulated its views to this effect and would prefer to wait for the government's response.''
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