The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday took credit for the statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops and the slew of measures announced by the government to convey a tough message to Islamabad.
At the same time BJP leader Arun Jaitley wondered why it took “so long” for the Prime Minister to respond to the “barbaric” act and asked if his reaction was out of conviction or compulsion.
The BJP said that during National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon’s briefing session with Mr. Jaitley and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, the two were able to convince Mr. Menon that the nation wanted the government to take tough measures against Pakistan.
Since the beheading of the Indian soldier last week, the BJP has targeted the government for its alleged ineptitude in dealing with Pakistan and has advocated a re-look at New Delhi’s engagement with Islamabad.
The briefing by the NSA, done on the Prime Minister’s directive , was essentially meant to counter the Opposition’s claim that the UPA had not been tough enough with Pakistan.
At the meeting, held at Ms. Swaraj's residence here, Mr. Menon was reported to have said that the government would keep the BJP and the other parties posted on the steps taken .
The two BJP leaders asked the NSA to convey to Dr. Singh that their party would fully back any measures the government intended to send a tough message to Pakistan.
The tone and tenor of the BJP in the last few days has been aggressive and confrontationist. Ms. Swaraj on Monday surprised observers after her visit to slain Lance Naik Hemraj Singh’s house, when she said that if India failed to recover the slain soldier’s head, it should at least bring back 10 from Pakistan.
“The incident that has happened, we should take revenge. Today, the country is demanding that we should not be proved a weak government ... If we don't get this [Lance Naik Hemraj Singh’s] head, we should get 10 of theirs [Pakistan Army’s],” she had said.