Modi's surgical strike leaves Opp. listless

Published : May 10, 2019 03:19 pm | By: Anjali Chhabra



Surgical strikes have been the core of the BJP’s political assault on its enemies this Lok Sabha elections and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have led from the front to showcase the anti-terror trophy of the NDA government.

Whether the Opposition parties like it or not the Narendra Modi government’s surgical strikes against cros-border terror have become a key talking point in the current Lok Sabha elections with the Prime Minister himself leading the BJP’s charge against the Congress attempt to seize the agenda with its “me too” claim that its UPA government also conducted six cross-border anti-terror strikes.

As the saffron party flexes its muscular nationalism policy to woo voters, there are signs of growing aggression with Modi claiming that only the Congress can do a surgical strike on paper and video games.

A combative Modi also took on the Opposition parties for objecting to the references to Pakistan in his speeches. “These are national elections, not municipal polls. Terrorism is a national issue and Pakistan is definitely going to come up.”

While the EC has given a clean chit to Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah in over half a dozen complaints of model code violation, the Prime Minister Modi referred to the Balakot air strikes and said a Congress leader had claimed four months back that three surgical strikes were conducted during that party’s term and now another leader is saying there were six.

“The number increased from three to six in four months. By the time the elections are over, this will increase to 600,” Modi said. 

“Jab kagaz par hi karni ho, jab video game mein hi strike karni ho to 6 ho ya 3 ho, 20 hon ya 25 hon, ye jhoote logon ko kya fark padta hai (When the surgical strikes are to be done on a piece of paper then how does it matter if they have conducted 6 or 25),” Modi said.

The BJP also slammed the opportunism of the Congress by saying that they firsts expressed anger over the strikes and later tried to claim credit for similar action under the UPA.

On surgical strikes, Modi slammed the Congress for changing its stand to suit the political situation. “Pehle upeksha, fir virodh, ab me too, me too (They initially rejected it, then opposed it and now they are saying ‘me too, me too’). 

The Prime Minister also derided the Congress leaders for making statements on surgical strikes, questioning if they see surgical strikes as video games. He said that they treat surgical strikes in the same manner as video games.

Modi accused Congress leaders of calling the Army chief a “goonda” (thug) and the Indian Air Force chief a “liar”, in an apparent reference to alleged remarks by Sandeep Dikshit and Veerappa Moily in past years.

He said the Congress leaders do not trust the valour of the country’s jawans and raise doubts on casualties inflicted on terrorists. 

Apart from ripping apart the Congress over the issue of surgical strikes, Modi went on to target Rahul’s father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi while attacking the rival party. “Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as bhrashtachari number 1,” said the Prime Minister.

Rahul replied on Twitter, saying, “Modi Ji, The battle is over. Your Karma awaits you. Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won’t protect you. All my love and a huge hug. Rahul.”

Modi’s remarks on Rajiv also got a clean chit from the EC and the Prime Minister hailed the decision saying that when “the Congress president made fun of poverty in the PM’s family everybody in the party hailed it. However, when I stated a fact about his father everyone in his party got after me”.

The EC clean chits to Modi on his speeches and the Supreme Court’s recent decision to reject a review petition filed by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and 20 other Opposition leaders to increase the random paper trail (VVPAT) verification with 50 per cent of EVMs per constituency have come as a latest boost to Modi.

Modi also dragged in Rahul’s alleged links with a UK firm, Backops, saying his “scams are getting exposed from land, air and water”.

The Prime Minister said the company’s name was akin to the Congress leader’s actions of indulging in back office operations. “He never worked for the company from the front and did operations from behind the curtains,” the Prime Minister said.

The reference to Backops has come at a crucial time in national elections and seems to be the BJP’s atom bomb against Gandhi who has been considerably vocal against the alleged irregularities in the Rafale jet deal. The Congress in its manifesto has promised to probe the Rafale case if it comes to power.

Joining Modi in targeting Rahul, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pointed to a media report which said, "In 2002, a company named Backops Service Pvt Ltd with Rahul and Priyanka as its directors was formed. In 2003, a company with the same name was formed in Britain with its directors as Rahul Gandhi (65 per cent stake) and US national Ulrik Mcknight. This is a liaisoning company which uses influence for cash."

He also questioned the awarding of an offset contract to Rahul’s former business partner in the Scorpene-class submarine deal signed during the previous UPA government.

The BJP leader also raised doubts over operations of Ulrik. “In 2009, Rahul exits from the company and the Indian company folds its business in 2010. Meanwhile, Ulrik continues to work in the name of other companies. In this period, French company DCNS got a contract to manufacture six Scorpene submarines in India. In this contract, one little known Indian company Flashforge is selected as DCNS' offset entity in 2011. Ulrik's companies were acquired by Flashforge before it was awarded the contract.”

Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are trying their best to prove sceptics wrong on the possible drop in BJP’s tally in the Lok Sabha polls below the magic figure of 272. With just two rounds of voting left in general elections, the Prime Minister’s reliance on national security issues like surgical strikes has left the Opposition with very little option to counter the NDA government’s achievement which is nothing less than a trophy. It remains to be seen if the surgical strikes and Pakistan-bashing by BJP star campaigners does the trick for the party which is looking for a second successive term at the Centre.

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