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Congress-BJP spar over Vaidik-Hafiz Saeed meet

By Agency
16th-Jul-2014       
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With Congress launching fresh offensive on the NDA government, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that the MEA did not facilitate free-lance journalist Vaidik's meet with 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed."The allegation that government facilitated the journalist's meeting with Hafiz is false and baseless," Swaraj told the Lok Sabha. In Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said, "Government has nothing to do with Vaidik's meet with Hafiz Saeed."Calling it a diversionary tactic of Congress, the government distanced itself from the meeting, saying the journalist was "neither authorised nor representing the government or BJP".Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu alleged that Congress was trying to "divert" the attention of the people and the entire episode was part of the "disinformation campaign against this government and BJP".Meanwhile, describing Ved Pratap Vaidik as an "RSS man", Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi questioned whether the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had facilitated the meeting between him and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed."The question is did the Indian embassy facilitate the gentleman (Vaidik) or not. We are curious to find out if Indian embassy has facilitated this event. If they helped this gentleman in any way. That's what we are curious about," Rahul said.Shashi Tharoor of Congress also questioned, "What was the role of Indian embassy? Was he (Vaidik) there as an emissary? Nation is entitled to answers."A row has erupted over the meeting of Vaidik, considered close to yoga guru Ramdev, with Saeed with the journalist rejecting suggestions made by Congress that he might have acted as government's envoy.Vaidik met Saeed as well as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during what he described as a personal visit to Pakistan recently. He said he was not the government's envoy in any way. However, the Congress said Vaidik was "very close to the Sangh parivar" and claimed he belonged to the Vivekananda International Foundation whose key members like Ajit Doval were in senior positions in the Prime Minister's Office.Congress has targeted the Prime Minister's Office over the meeting alleging its "direct involvement" and asked the government to "come clean" on the issue.

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