The Congress and the Shiv Sena used the border firing issue to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, saying he should focus on the country’s security with Pakistan pounding Indian posts along the border in Jammu over the past week.
An editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, slammed Modi for spending time addressing election rallies across Maharashtra, saying Pakistan has been emboldened by the government's failure to take firm steps against the firing which has left eight civilians dead so far.
“Maharashtra politics can come later. The country’s security is important. Modiji, please stop tolerating the indiscretions of Pakistan,” said the Sena, an ally of the BJP for 25 years until they snapped ties last month over sharing of seats in the state assembly polls.
In an obvious jibe at Modi who often talked of his 56-inch chest at his election rallies, the Shiv Sena said you don’t need a “56-inch chest” to protect the interests of the nation.
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“Whether a 56-inch chest can save the country or not is debatable. But if you have the will to protect your country, then anyone can do it,” said the editorial
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also hit out at Modi, saying he had done nothing to stop the Pakistani shelling which has wounded more than 70 people and forced thousands to abandon their homes along the border.
“Before the Lok Sabha polls, Modi used to speak of adopting an aggressive approach towards China and Pakistan. Now, despite so many provocations, the PM is not doing anything for the last three months,” Gandhi said at his first campaign rally for the October 15 Maharashtra Assembly elections at Mahad in Raigad district.
“When the Prime Minister was enjoying a swing with the Chinese President, thousands of their soldiers were occupying our land in Ladakh,” he said.
The shooting, which started more than a week ago, has seen some of the most intense violence between India and Pakistan in about a decade.
The firing has strained India-Pakistan relations which hit a low after New Delhi called off foreign secretary-level talks in August following the Pakistani high commissioner’s meeting with Kashmiri separatist leaders.
This year has been particularly volatile along the border and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, which is due for assembly polls as Pakistan typically ratchets up border tensions every time the state holds elections.
With agency inputs