BJP-Congress slugfest continues over IAF strikes

BJP-Congress slugfest continues over IAF strikes

New Delhi: The IAF air strike in Pakistan remained at the centre of political slugfest on Sunday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the Opposition for questioning the counter-terror operation while the Congress hit back by accusing the BJP of playing politics over national security.

The Indian Air Force on February 26 conducted an air strike in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting a training camp of the Jaish-e Mohammad, the militant group which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF troopers.

Addressing a government event at Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Modi lashed out at the Congress for “putting personal interest over national interest”.

Hitting back to the Congress over the Rafale deal, Modi held it responsible for hindering the IAF from getting the state-of-art fighter jets from France.

“Every one, from the Supreme Court to the CAG, have called the deal transparent, but some people continue to spread misinformation,” said Modi, who has been repeatedly targeted by Gandhi over the Rafale deal.

Earlier, addressing a rally in Patna, Modi accused the Opposition of demoralising the security forces by asking for proof of the IAF air strike.

Referring to 21 opposition parties collectively accusing the BJP of “blatantly politicising” the sacrifices of the armed forces, Modi said that by making such statements, they were playing into the hands of India’s enemies.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also came out all guns blazing against the opposition parties, saying their statements were an instrument in Pakistan’s hands to discredit India.

“At a meeting of 21 opposition parties, a resolution was passed accusing the Prime Minister of politicising the Pulwama and Balakot incidents. The government had twice taken the opposition leaders into confidence. No evidence of politicisation was given.

“I hope the Opposition revisits its position and does not let down the nation,” he said in a blog post, adding that the “inappropriate statements gave a handle to the enemy.”

The Congress hit back at Modi with party spokesperson Manish Tewari questioning why several major terror attacks happened under his regime. He also asserted that the Congress or the Opposition did not question the IAF operation.

Pointing to Union Minister S.S. Ahluwalia’s remarks that the air strike was meant to “warn the terrorists and not kill them”, Tewari said it was Modi himself and the BJP who were playing with interests of the nation.

“You have the Prime Minister saying that if Rafale would have been there, things would have been different. Then you have a Union Minister and a close confidante of Modi, S.S Ahluwalia, who says the air strike was meant to warn, not kill the terrorists.

“What do the statements mean? Who is actually playing with national interests and dampening the morale of the armed forces? It’s not the Opposition, which has conducted itself extremely honourably,” Tewari told the media here.

“It is the BJP government, starting from the Prime Minister and down to their Union Ministers, which is raising questions and playing politics over the air strike,” he added.

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