The BJP today said that Opposition parties were reluctant to celebrate Masood Azhar's UN designation as a global terrorist, but tweets online show that Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and the Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had hailed the development yesterday.
The UN Sanctions Committee on Wednesday designated the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar a global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to ban him.
At a news conference in the BJP office, finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said there was a tradition in the country to speak in one voice on issues such as external affairs and national security but there has been a departure from it in the last few years. "If India wins, Indians win, but there are friends in Opposition who are not celebrating it as they may have to pay a political price for it," he said.
In a tweet timed at 8.11 pm on May 1, Congress' Surjewala wrote that while Masood Azhar's designation as a global terrorist was a "welcome step", the Congress was disappointed that the Pulwama attack and Jammu and Kashmir were not listed among Azhar's terror activities by the UN.
The Congress also grabbed the opportunity to remind voters that it had worked quickly and got Hafiz Saeed labelled a global terrorist after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that had shown the involvement of the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Masood Azhar was one of the terrorists released in 1999 by the then BJP-led government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in exchange for 155 hostages held on an Indian Airlines flight that had been hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Although the current BJP-led dispensation has not spoken about it, the UN sanctions committee mentioned this well-known fact in its document.
Today, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was with Jaitley at the news conference, attributed the success to the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Terrorism shall not be tolerated and this declaration from the UN is noteworthy. It is the result of persistent measures taken by the external affairs ministry, under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," she said.
But Akhilesh's tweet made it clear that not every Opposition party was willing to give Modi's leadership the credit. "I congratulate the Indian diplomatic corp for the tireless work that has led to this significant victory - it is the first step in ensuring Masood Azhar pays for his crimes," the post read.