Despite the Lok Sabha polls nearing their end, the war of words amongst the politicians seems to be in no mood to abate. Firing yet another salvo at the Congress party, Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday referring to 26/11 Mumbai attacks said, then Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was only concerned about getting his child a film role even as the city was under attacks.
"I am from Mumbai. You may remember the 26/11 terror attack. The then Congress government was weak and could not do anything. The chief minister at that time (Vilasrao Deshmukh) had brought a film producer outside Oberoi Hotel while shooting and bombing was going on inside. He as concerned about getting his son a role in a movie," Piyush Goyal said while addressing business community in Punjab's Ludhiana on Sunday.
Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh is the son of the late Vilasrao Deshmukh. The actor took to his Twitter handle to clarify his stance and wrote:
"Honourable Minister, It is true that I had visited the Taj/Oberoi Hotel but untrue that I was there while the 'Shooting and Bombing' was happening as you claimed. It is true that I had accompanied my father but untrue that he was trying to get me a role in a film. He never ever spoke to a director or a producer to cast me in film and I take pride in that.
You have every right to question a CM but it is wrong to accuse someone who is not here to defend himself. A bit late, 7 years ago - he would have replied to you. My best wishes with your campaign Sir. Love and Regards, Riteish Vilasrao Deshmukh."
Piyush Goyal had also termed the then UPA government-led by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh as a "coward government" for failing to respond to 26/11 attacks that shook Mumbai in 2008.
"Our Armed Forces were capable then too but the decision was to be taken by the leadership. The security forces kept hoping that they would be allowed to give a befitting reply but they were not allowed to take action. That was a coward government," the Union Minister added.
BJP has made national security a poll plank in 2019 Lok Sabha polls with a number of party leaders speaking on the topic during the course of the campaign, including reference to the 2016 Surgical Strike post-Uri and air-strike in Pakistan's Balakot post-Pulwama as an example of the party's "zero-tolerance" policy on terrorism.
(With Inputs from ANI)