The Congress on Thursday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “misplaced priorities” and that he was “desperate only for re-election”.
It also accused the saffron party leaders of politicising the bravery of the armed forces, while referring to Karnataka BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa’s comment that India’s “pre-emptive strikes” on terror camps in Pakistan have created a wave in favour of PM Modi and will help his party win over 22 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, in a tweet, alleged that the prime minister was “hell-bent on creating a video-conference record” when the entire country was praying for the return of its braveheart pilot.
An IAF pilot was captured by Pakistan after an air combat on Wednesday during which the two sides said they shot down each other’s warplanes that followed an unsuccessful attempt to target Indian military installations in retaliatory strikes that sparked fears of war.
IAF sources identified the pilot as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
“Glaring case of misplaced priorities! 132 Cr Indians pray for safe & immediate return of India’s brave-heart Wing Comm, Abhinandan but Modiji desperate only for re-election. Congress cancelled its imp CWC & Rally today. Pradhan Sevak hell-bent on creating a Video Conf. record (sic)!” Surjewala wrote on Twitter.
The prime minister on Thursday had direct dialogue with BJP workers and volunteers as part of the party’s ‘Mera Booth Sabse Mazboot’ programme through, what the party claims, the “world’s largest video conference”.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal also targeted Yeddyurappa saying, “On 27th February B.S. Yeddyurappa at Chitradurga in a public function said: ‘The Indian Armed Forces proved their mettle by destroying the terrorists’ hideouts. The impact of this strike will help BJP win more than 22 seats in the state’.”
“Is this patriotism or crass politics?” he asked.
Surjewala, in a tweet, hit out at Prime Minister Modi saying, “The armed forces are taking care of the borders and the Pradhan Sewak the booth. These are the soldiers of power.” He also used the hashtag “Booth first or country”.
“Dear Modiji/ Jaitleyji, Any more questions on politicisation. Regards, 132 Crore Indians,” he wrote on Twitter and tagged a report quoting Yeddyurappa that ‘pre-emptive’ strikes will help BJP win 22 of 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka”.
Yeddyurappa has since gone back on his remarks saying that was not what he meant.
Twenty-one opposition parties on Wednesday expressed “deep anguish” over what they alleged was “blatant politicisation” of the sacrifices of armed forces and urged the government to take the nation into confidence on all measures to protect India’s sovereignty, unity and integrity.