Lok Sabha Elections 2019: ‘Vultures, not brave count bodies’: Rajnath Singh jabs Congress over Balakot
Singh was reacting to recent remarks by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti that warned against the abrogation of Article 370 and annulment of Article 35A.Updated: Apr 10, 2019 09:32 IST
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that statements by a few political leaders on a separate prime minister for Kashmir showed their frustration and desperation, adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was committed to its stand on Article 370 and Article 35A.
Singh was reacting to recent remarks by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti that warned against the abrogation of Article 370 and annulment of Article 35A.
“If you are talking about two prime ministers in the country, what options are left before us than taking a call on abrogation of article 370 or repealing 35A?” Singh said in an interview to Hindustan Times. Singh said the statements by a section of Kashmir-based parties showed their frustration and desperation.
“We have a clear view on these matters, and we are committed to implementing it, irrespective of what some political parties have to say,” he added, referring to the promises made in the BJP’s election manifesto.
While Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35A provides special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of the state.
Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said: “The BJP has nothing to offer to the people and now they are raking these issues. Our party has given the Article 370 and we are going to defend it at all the costs.”
At an election rally in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha earlier, Singh said that if former prime minister Indira Gandhi could be praised for the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, PM Narendra Modi too deserved appreciation for avenging the Pulwama terror attack.
Launching an attack on the Congress, Singh said: “The brave don’t count bodies, only vultures do.”
On February 26, the Indian Air Force launched an attack on a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, days after a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama killed 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force.
The ruling BJP and the Congress have been engaged in a verbal duel over the air strike, with the opposition party accusing the government of politicising a military action.
“When Indira Gandhi divided Pakistan and created Bangladesh in 1971, our leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, stood and praised her in Parliament. Why can’t the Congress show similar gesture towards Modi after the Balakot strike?” Rajnath asked at the rally in Chandrapur, where he sought votes for Union minister Hansraj Ahir. “[After Balakot] India is no longer treated as a weak nation.”
At a separate election meeting in Amaravati, Singh said he was surprised at the way some people in India were upset after the Balakot strike.
Singh said the action was carried out with “utmost care” and was targeted at terrorists. “We didn’t kill innocent people or army men in Pakistan. We targeted terrorists who carried out [the Pulwama terror] attack. India has never been expansionist.”
He said there is a change in the way in how New Delhi functions, and after the Pulwama incident, PM Modi asked forces to avenge the death of CRPF personnel within 15 days. It was done within 13 days, Singh added.
“We don’t trouble anyone, but if someone troubles us, we don’t spare them,” he said.
Earlier in Chandrapur, Singh hit out at the Congress over its promise to scrap the sedition law. “Shouldn’t the law take its own course against those who want to divide India? What does the Congress want to achieve? Please save the country from these people,” he said.
The home minister also said there was a “Modi wave” across the country and that even rival leaders such as Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party have sensed it and predicted the “return of the Modi government”.
“Pawar saheb knows that Congress is not going to win, and has already deserted the battlefield,” the home minister said, referring to Pawar’s announcement last month that he would not contest the Lok Sabha polls.
Singh also criticised the Congress’s poll promise of providing Rs 72,000 every year to poor families, and called it an “eyewash”.
“They [Congress] have put conditions such as you get benefit of this scheme only if your income is less than Rs 12,000. It has promised to only provide for amount that is short of Rs 12,000. If a family has an income of Rs 11,500, then such families will only get Rs 500. This is an eyewash. They can afford to do this because they know they are not going to come to power,” Singh said.
The home minister also talked about issues raised in the BJP’s election manifesto such as universal income support to farmers, pension to the agrarian community and small businessmen.
Campaigning for the Shiv Sena candidate, Anandrao Adsul, Singh said in Amaravati that the alliance with the Maharashtra based party was unbreakable.
“Alliance is not a compulsion for us, it is our commitment,” Singh said, referring to the Sena which had a bittersweet relationship with the BJP before announcing a seat sharing plan in February. Of the 48 seats in Maharashtra, the BJP will contest in 25 seats and the Sena in 23.
“People were predicting that BJP and Sena will part ways, but I used to tell people that god has created these two parties to stay together and they will stay together.”