Guwahati: Despite widespread criticism over his controversial father-son remarks on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday defended his comments and asserted that questioning the army personnel will “not be tolerated anymore”.

In a series of tweets, Sarma posted several screenshots of news reports of the Congress’ statements on the 2016 surgical strike and the appointment of Bipin Rawat as the army chief and the chief of defense staff among others.

“Is it wrong to stand by our great Armed forces? Let’s not question their patriotism. Don’t seek proof of what they did for the country.”

“India is not just a union of states. ‘Bharat’ is our Maa, not just a motherland. Questioning the jawans is an insult to our Maa!” he wrote on the microblogging site.

He also alleged that the Congress “spared no effort to abuse and accuse General Bipin Rawat”.

“From the day he became Army Chief, they questioned his abilities. But they get irked when I question them for disrespecting our brave soldiers. This is new India. Such attitude won’t be tolerated anymore,” he said.

Gen. Rawat died in a chopper crash in December last year. He had served as the chief of the Indian Army from December 17, 2016, to December 31, 2019, and was appointed as India’s first chief of defence staff in 2019.

During a rally in poll-bound Uttarakhand, Sarma had on February 11 attacked Gandhi for demanding proof of the September 2016 surgical strike.

The Assam chief minister also asked whether the BJP had ever demanded proof of him being the “son of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi”.

This has led to a huge controversy with several opposition parties criticising Sarma for his “deplorable” statement.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had on Saturday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must sack Sarma for his remarks on Rahul Gandhi.

Lashing out at Sarma, Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole had said the Assam CM’s “distasteful” statement “reflected the culture of the BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh”.

“By making such statements, he has shown that his mental balance has deteriorated and he needs to be treated in a good hospital,” the Congress leader said.

Members of the Congress’ youth and student wings had on Saturday held protests in New Delhi over Sarma’s statements.

Indian Youth Congress activists, led by its president Srinivas B V, staged a protest near Assam Bhavan, while the National Students’ Union of India demonstrated outside its office.

Protests by the Assam unit of the IYC were held at several places across Assam.

In Tripura, Cong gets shot in the arm from BJP dissidents

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