Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman on Friday hit out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor over “appeasement politics” asking if the grand old party has become a “Muslim party”. Sitaraman also slammed former union minister Tharoor for his “Hindu-Pakistan” comment. She said that the Congress needs to justify its action to the public.

“Congress is playing a dangerous game. It’s playing up the card of religion. It’s frightening that it may lead to division and communal disharmony which prevailed during 1947 partition. Congress party shall be solely responsible if any disharmony plays out between now and 2019 polls,” ANI quoted the defence minister as saying.

In another presser held earlier, Defence Minister announced that the 2+2 dialogue with the United States will take place in the first week of September. The agenda of the talk will be to develop and strengthen strategic defence cooperation and to follow-on with what had transpired during the meeting with Secretary Defence Mattis.

Last Month, the US had postponed the 2+2 dialogue with India as Secretary of state Michael Pompeo was required to travel to North Korea to discuss the country’s denuclearisation plan. The reason for postponing the dialogue, which was scheduled to take place for July 6 in Washington, was conveyed to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj by Pompeo during a telephonic conversation between them on June 27.

Sitharaman’s comments have come in the wake of controversy stoked by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor over his ‘Hindu Pakistan’ remark and Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with a group of Muslim intellectuals at his residence.

Tharoor’s remarks at an event in Thiruvananthapuram that India would become a ‘Hindu Pakistan’ if the saffron party won elections in 2019 has been vehemently criticised by the BJP, which has demanded an apology from the Congress president.

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