New Delhi, Apr 18, 2019 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi upped the ante against the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular alliance in Karnataka on Thursday saying national security is not a priority for the Opposition parties. He cited recent Balakot strike and the surgical strike of 2016 across the Line of Control (LoC) to target the Opposition in his public rally, Hindustan Times .
“I remember that when air strike was conducted Pakistan was sleeping. Pakistan told the whole world that there was a strike by India and they started crying. There were some people in our country who got hurt when the attack was launched across the border. Pakistan was hurt but people here were crying,” the prime minister said at an election rally in Bagalkot Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka.
His reference was to the Congress and other Opposition parties which sought clarification from the government amid reports in the international media raising questions about the Balakot strike by the Indian Air Force in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
PM Modi said, “These people sat on Google and some even said it was an attack on Bagalkot (Karnataka) and not Balakot (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan).”
The prime minister hit out at Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy saying, “The chief minister said clearly that Balakot should not become a big issue (in the polls) because his vote bank will get angry. Tell me is the coalition’s vote bank in Bagalkot or Balakot?”
The IAF had targeted a terror camp in Balakot on February 26 on the basis of intelligence input that the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which had owned Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir, was planning more incidents in India from its training centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Forty CRPF jawans had been killed in Pulwama attack on February 14. The IAF said the Balakot strike achieved its objective.
“The Congress isn’t even ready to accept the surgical and air strikes. The truth is that the Congress and JD-S don’t think about the nation but only about their vote bank,” said PM Modi.
India had carried out a surgical strike across the Line of Control (LoC) in 2016 days after Uri terror attack in which 19 army jawans were killed by terrorists. Terror launch pads had been destroyed by a team of special commandos in the surgical strike.
At his Bagalkot rally, PM Modi said the previous government under the Congress did not take decisive action against terrorists as it was a ‘majboor’ (weak) regime.
Bagalkot Lok Sabha seat goes to the polls on April 23 along with 13 other parliamentary constituencies of Karnataka. Bagalkot Lok Sabha seat has been with the BJP since 2004.
Its sitting MP, Gaddigoudar Parvatagouda Chandanagouda is seeking fourth consecutive term from Bagalkot. The Congress, which is in alliance with the JD-S in Karnataka, has fielded Ajay Kumar Sarnaik from Bagalkot hoping that the coalition will stop the BJP’s successful run in this parliamentary constituency.