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In Karnataka, PM Modi cites surgical strike, Sabarimala to target Congress-led Oppn

Over 150 military veterans wrote a letter on Friday to the President expressing their reservations over alleged “political use” of the armed forces. At a poll rally on Saturday, PM Modi cited surgical strike among other things to Opposition parties in Karnataka.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 13, 2019 18:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mangaluru
Narendra Modi,Surgical Strike,Karnataka
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday targeted the Congress and its alliance partners for seeking proof of the cross-border operations conducted by the armed forces against terrorists.(ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched fresh attack on the Congress and other Opposition parties citing surgical strike and Balakot strike amid objection by veterans of the armed forces over reference to the Army and the Indian Air Force in electoral discourse.

PM Modi, who was addressing an election rally in Mangaluru in Karnataka, said, “When surgical strike is carried out, they ask for proof. When India targets terrorists in their own backyard, these mahamilawati people (reference he uses to address the Congress and its allies), they raise doubts over our armed forces. They have stooped so low that they call the army chief a street goonda (ruffian).”

“When surgical strike happens they ask for evidence. When India kills terrorists in their homes, then that whole gang, ‘mahamilawati log’ (highly adulterated people) come to question the armed forces. Do you trust our forces or not? Do you need evidence? They have stooped so low that they call army chief a goonda.

This came a day after over 150 military veterans wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, expressing outrage over what they called “use” of the armed forces for “political purposes”. The letter, dated April 11, carries the names of eight former service chiefs.

However, two of them - former Army chief General (retd) SF Rodrigues and Air Chief Marshal (retd) N C Suri - have denied having written such a letter. But they maintained that the armed forces are apolitical and they should not be politicised.

At Mangaluru rally in Karnataka, PM Modi hit out at the Congress and its alliance partner in the state Janata Dal-Secular saying that these parties work for dynasty politics.

“The Congress and JDS are inspired by dynasty and we are inspired by nationalism. They find ways to benefit their family but we work hard to bring the marginalised to the mainstream. Their philosophy is Vanshodaya (the rise of dynasty) and ours is Antyodya (the rise of the last person),” said PM Modi in Mangaluru, which is part of the Dakshin Kannada Lok Sabha seat that goes to the polls on April 18.

Karnataka votes for its 28 Lok Sabha seats in two phases, ending on April 23, when polling for the third round of parliamentary elections will be held. Both phases will see 14 Lok Sabha seats each going to the polls in the state, which is currently ruled by an alliance of the Congress and the JDS.

PM Modi also raised the issue of Sabarimala in his speech questioning the Opposition over the emotive issue that has seen a huge row over the past one year.

The prime minister said, “Politics, judiciary everything has its place but even proclaiming one’s belief is now considered a crime. I was in Kerala, where there is a communist government, which is part of this mahamilawati (grand adulteration, a term he uses to describe the Opposition unity)…the condition there is such that no citizen can take the name of Lord Ayyappa. People are booked and jailed for supporting the rights of Sabarimala. Is this democracy? Can’t you say Aiyappa?”

On September 28 last year, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple. Lord Ayyappa is the presiding deity of the shrine.

The devotees have been protesting the lifting of ban on the entry of women of menstrual age on the ground of violation of the right to freedom of religion. The BJP has supported the protesters and favoured a review of the Supreme Court judgment.

First Published: Apr 13, 2019 17:53 IST

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