Arvind Kejriwal also took on the PM for engaging in political activities when an IAF personnel is captured.
New Delhi: At a time when the government and saffron stakeholders have been cautioning political parties not to politicise the Pulwama attack and India’s retaliatory air strikes, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi, came under attack for not practicing what he and others had been preaching. Things worsened for the party when its senior leader and former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said that the BJP is going to reap the benefits of India’s airstrikes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress launched a stinging attack on Mr Modi for addressing BJP booth workers and playing the nationalist card by raising Pulwama and the air strikes. Billed as the “world’s largest videoconference”, Mr Modi interacted with over 1 crore BJP workers in 15,000 locations across the country on the party’s preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Accusing the Prime Minister of having “misplaced priorities”, the Congress said that he was “desperate only for re-election”.
“We postponed our CWC (Congress Working Committee) meeting and rally, but the PM is addressing booth workers,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
“In such a difficult situation, they think that the party is bigger than the country. Yesterday the Union home minister attended a rally of the BJP in Bilaspur,” Mr Tewari added.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala 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 brave-heart pilot.
“Glaring case of misplaced priorities! 132 crore Indians pray for safe and 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 Conference record!” Mr Surjewala tweeted.
Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal also took on the PM for engaging in political activities when an IAF personnel is captured. Mr Kejriwal tweeted, “I would urge the PM to postpone this (Mera Booth Sabse Mazboot programme). At this moment, we as a nation need to spend all our energies and time to get the IAF pilot back safely and to sternly deal with Pakistan.”
Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav also slammed the BJP for trying to create a booth record at a time when the entire country is standing with the Modi government in its fight against terrorism.
He tweeted, “When the entire country is standing shoulder to shoulder with the government by keeping politics aside, the BJP is trying to create a record of connecting booth workers. Even BJP workers are ashamed. However bad the situation is, the ‘suit-boot’ BJP will continue with celebrations. Reprehensible.”
The Congress further alleged that saffron party leaders were politicising the bravery of the armed forces, while referring to Mr Yeddyurappa’s comment that the “BJP is guaranteed to win at least 22 seats from Karnataka” following India’s “pre-emptive strikes” on terror camps in Pakistan which have created a wave in favour of PM Modi.
Mr Yeddyurappa also faced disapproval from his own party colleague and minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh, who tweeted, “ ji, I beg to differ. We stand as one nation, action taken by our government is to safeguard our nation and ensure safety of our citizens, not to win a few extra seats.”
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal also targeted Mr 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?”
Mr Yeddyurappa has since gone back on his remarks, saying that was not what he meant.
“I would like to clarify that my yesterday’s statement has been completely misinterpreted. I have highest regard for our armed forces. I salute the bravery of our men in fighting for the country’s safety… I stand along with my fellow countrymen and pray for the safe return of Abhinandan Varthaman... To me, the Nation comes first and then the party,” he said in a series of tweets.