Those who question India’s surgical strikes on militant launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir should speak to families of army martyrs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, in comments apparently aimed at stoking a raging debate over nationalism.
“We are so proud of what our forces did. It (the surgical strike) was done after elaborate planning and is being talked about world over. Sadly, there are some people who are so driven by political considerations that they want to question our armed forces,” Modi said at a public rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur.
“Those who question the surgical strikes, come to Jaunpur and ask the families of the martyrs. Why politicise issues of national security?” Modi questioned as he took on opposition parties which had sought proof of last year’s strikes by the Indian army across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Why politicise issues of national security?” Modi asked as he took on opposition parties who had sought proof of last year’s surgical strikes by the Indian army across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The rally was among a series of campaign meetings and road shows attended by Modi in the crucial Varanasi region which will go to the polls in the final phase on March 8.
Before the Jaunpur rally, Modi took part in a road show in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, and then returned to address another meeting in the holy city. Over the next two days, he will address several public meetings in the region that has 40 seats spread across seven districts.
Modi highlighted the sacrifices made by the armed forces in the fight against militancy and said he he kept his promise on the contentious one rank one pension (OROP) scheme for army personnel.
“For 40 years our forces demanded OROP but nothing happened. I had promised that a government will deliver on OROP and we did,” he added.
He took on the Samajwadi Party government in the state by raising the law and order scene, one of the main issues of the BJP in this election.
“Are the sisters and daughters of UP safe? Who is responsible for this (state of affairs)?” Modi asked.
“We promise to fix your problems if you gift us an electoral win on March 11 (when votes will be counted).”
Apparently taking a dig at the clout of jailed politicians, Modi said, “Over here, (even the) jail has also become a palace for ‘bahubalis’ (strongmen),” Modi said.
“When people do good, they recite the Gayatri mantra. But here, it is called Gayatri Prajapati mantri,” Modi said referring to a state minister accused of rape.
He also said the loans of small farmers will be waived off in the first cabinet meeting if the BJP is voted to power in UP.
Earlier, Modi held a road show and offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples before his road show in Varanasi.
People stood on balconies, rooftops and in lanes, chanting pro-Modi slogans as the road show passed by.
The road show, which covered a distance of five kilometres, revived memories of a similar event when Modi filed his nominations for the 2014 Lok Sabha election in Varanasi.
(With agency inputs)