Spokespersons of the Congress on Tuesday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government following media reports that the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA) was facing shortage of funds to pay for transportation of Indian Army officers for postings, exercises and training courses.

The reports were triggered by a notice on the official website of the PCDA on Monday evening: “Due to insufficient funds available under Temporary Duty & Permanent Duty Heads of Army Officers, no TA/DA advances & claims can be processed till receipt of sufficient funds under the relevant heads. However facility for LTC will continue.”

On Tuesday morning, the Twitter handle of the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence informed the news was “baseless” and funds in any specific head may “fall short momentarily”. The defence ministry tweeted, “Funds in any specific head may fall short momentarily. These are only temporary & resolved routinely through re-appropriations as in the instant case. The hype created is unnecessary and needs to be avoided by all concerned. The news is baseless.”

The PCDA notice, which was taken off by Tuesday, triggered a wave of criticism of the Modi government, with popular Congress spokespersons leading the charge.

Priyanka Chaturvedi, convener for AICC communications, tweeted about allegations on the Rafale deal, which the Congress claims was finalised by Modi to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani. Chaturvedi tweeted, “To help a bankrupt friend get rich, BJP government denied the Air Force the number of jets they sought. To seek political benefit from surgical strikes they asked how’s the josh? Look how they have cheated our army too.”

Another Congress spokesperson, Jaiver Shergill, brought up the recent Bollywood movie Uri: The Surgical Strike, and in particular, its punchline phrase, “How's the josh?”, which has been used by BJP leaders.

Shergill tweeted, “When it comes to copying movie dialogues, piggybacking on valour of our soldiers, doing PR Stunts seeking votes in name of Army then #BJP has 56” chest but when it comes to allocating funds to then 6” -Party of Fake Nationalists-BJP (Bhrasht Jumla Party)”.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera tweeted about about the purported funds crunch, referring to the Modi government as a “government of pseudo-nationalists”.

The approximate cost of allowances for Army personnel travelling for postings, exercises and courses has been reported to be about Rs 4,000 crore annually.

Interestingly, the news about the purported funds crunch for the Army comes days after Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the defence budget had crossed the figure of Rs 3 lakh crore for the first time ever. However, the allocation of Rs 3,05,296 crore featured a modest year-on-year hike of only 6.9 per cent compared with previous defence budgets that had hikes ranging from 7 to 10 per cent.