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BJP vs BJP as Swamy quotes Arunachal MP Gao to claim Chinese incursions, he says not full story

Rajya Sabha MP Swamy got into a Twitter spat with his own party's Lok Sabha MP Gao. BJP says Swamy 'can say anything because of his political objective, that doesn’t matter'.

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New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy Friday engaged in a Twitter spat with a fellow BJP parliamentarian, Tapir Gao, over the issue of alleged Chinese incursions in Arunachal Pradesh.

Swamy quoted Gao, a Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal, as saying that the latter wanted him to focus on the Northeastern state as the Chinese army had already “crossed” McMahon Line. Gao, in response, denied Swamy’s claims, saying the Rajya Sabha MP wasn’t telling the full story.

The issue started Thursday, when Swamy tweeted: “Today I met Tapir Gao BJP LS MP of Arunachal. He told me AP people wanted that I also focus on Arunachal. He told me that China PLA has already crossed Macmahon Line in three parallel columns halfway down south of the State. Early next year I will go to AP (sic).”

Gao tweeted Friday that this was a misquote, and he only told Swamy about the Chinese intrusion “during the 1962 war”. 

“I met Subramanian Swamy in Central Hall,Parliament on 2 Dec at 10:35 AM, when he asked about Chinese intrusion I told him that during 1962 war China occupied 2-3 locations during Congress regime but no fresh incursion has taken place during Modi regime; unfortunately he has misquoted me (sic),” Gao wrote.

To this, Swamy responded that even if China had occupied the territory in 1962 and built pucca villages “thereafter”, why didn’t the Modi government take it up in its “18 one to one meetings” with President Xi Jinping?

This comes after reports emerged that China has recently undertaken construction activities in Arunachal.

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Not full version of the events, says Gao

Speaking to ThePrint, Gao said Swamy didn’t give the full version of the story, adding that he told the Rajya Sabha MP only about incursions under Congress governments.

“He has not given the full version of what he had discussed with me. I categorically mentioned that there is no incursion during the Modi regime, all have been done during the Congress regime — from 1962 till the regime of Manmohan Singh. But he just mentioned my name and incursion. This is not the version that I had told him,” Gao said.

“There is nothing new and nothing serious. He only tweeted half of the story,” he claimed, adding that he personally spoke to Swamy about the issue early Friday, and the latter assured him that he would “correct it”.

Asked why Swamy would present half a story, Gao laughed and said: “I don’t know, you can ask him”.

ThePrint approached Swamy over the phone for a comment, but there was no response until the time of publishing this report. He later tweeted that his “other sources confirmed that PLA has built pucca villages in Arunachal”.

BJP spokesperson R.P. Singh told ThePrint that “Subramanian Swamy is not above the Army chief”. “Army said on record that there is no intrusion. He (Swamy) can say anything because of his political objective, that doesn’t matter,” Singh said.

‘Not committed to ideology but power’

This isn’t the first time Swamy has questioned the BJP leadership on social media.

During the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament, Swamy has been targeting the party on various issues, from Chinese intrusion to brain-drain. He also accused the government of ducking “tough questions” in the Parliament. 

Swamy also sparked speculation when he met Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on 25 November, but put them to rest by saying he was “already with her”.

Reacting to the latest controversy, BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga told ThePrint that Swamy is acting out as he wasn’t appointed as the finance minister.

“His intentions are wrong. If someone was tweeting against the government on policy issues, it was different. He had once said (EAM) S. Jaishankar was dressed like a waiter. He was expecting that he would be made the finance minister, but when his expectations were not fulfilled, he rebelled against the government,” Bagga said.

“Even when Atal ji had not made him minister, he took down the government along with Jayalalithaa, then he went against Sonia Gandhi. He is not committed to any ideology, he is only committed to power and now he is expecting that Mamata Banerjee will send him to the Rajya Sabha,” he said. 

Swamy was last month dropped from BJP’s top decision making body, the National Executive.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)

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