Rejecting BJP’s charge of playing “dirty politics” over the ‘bomb’ boat issue, Congress on Monday said doubts have been raised in the public realm and it has the right as principal opposition party to question the government.Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala responded to BJP’s allegation by saying that branding as “Pakistani” those raising questions over the matter goes against the basic tenets of democracy. “We would request our friends in BJP to stop branding every Indian citizen asking questions as a Pakistani, for that goes against the very tenets of democracy,” he told reporters here.”As a primary opposition party, it is our responsibility that whenever in public life divisions crop up in different agencies of the government, we are in a position to put forward questions on behalf of the people to the government,” he said. Noting that Congress appreciates the brave action by the Indian Coast Guard on December 31, Surjewala said, “We request the BJP that matters of national security should not be used for self-manisfested PR exercises.”His remarks came in response to charge by BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma that Congress was playing “dirty politics” over the boat issue. In a mid-sea operation, a suspected Pakistani boat was intercepted by the Coast Guard in the Arabian Sea in the intervening night of December 21 and January one after which it caught fire and exploded with all four crew members on board. While the government maintains that its occupants were “suspected terrorists” carrying explosives, there have been reports that they may have been smugglers.

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We have right to question government over ‘boat’ issue: Congress