The Lok Sabha election fight has taken a new turn for the political parties in the country. Congress has demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “condemnable and divisive” statement that hurt the sentiments of people in Wayanad in Kerala. It came after Congress announced that party president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala besides his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Congress was “afraid” of fielding candidates from constituencies dominated by majority population because it had insulted Hindus by using the term “Hindu terror”. Meanwhile, Congress released a list of 9 candidates from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Whether Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath violated the poll code with his “Modi ji ki sena” comment at a rally will be decided by the Election Commission after it receives a report from the Ghaziabad district magistrate, sources said today. The poll watchdog, after taking note of media reports of Mr Adityanath’s speech on Sunday last, has sought a report from the magistrate.
“Congress people used to serve terrorists biryani and Modi-ji’s Sena (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s army) gives them only golis and golas(bullets and bombs). That’s the difference. Congress people use ‘ji‘ for terrorists like Masood Azhar but under the leadership of PM Modi, the BJP government is breaking the backs of terrorists by striking their camps,” said Yogi Adityanath, addressing a rally in Ghaziabad.
“What was namumkin (impossible) for the Congress is mumkin (possible) for PM Modi. Because when Modi is there, the impossible becomes possible.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised her saffron-robed counterpart for “blatant personalisation” of the Army. “We are proud of our Army. They belong to all. They are a great asset of our nation, and not a cassette of the BJP. People of this country must stand up and reject this statement,” Ms Banerjee tweeted.
Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi attacked Yogi Adityanath for “christening” the Indian army as “Modi’s army” and demanded his apology.
“This is an insult to our armed forces. They are India’s Armed Forces not the private army of Prachaar Mantri. Adityanath must apologise,” the Congress leader tweeted.
She also sought to remind Yogi Adityanath and his BJP that after the hijacking of flight IC814 in 1999, Masood Azhar, then in custody, had been swapped for the safety of passengers held hostage in Kandahar. “If we talk about Masood Azahar, then how can one forge the stellar role of NSA (Ajit) Doval who personally ensured the safe return of the terrorist to terroristan,” she asked.
According to sources, the officers in the Indian Army too found Yogi Adityanath’s comment objectionable. “The Indian Army has explained its concern to the Ministry of Defence,” sources told.
The opposition has often accused the government of trying to exploit the army for electoral gains.
The Pulwama terror attack in which 40 soldiers were killed, and India’s subsequent air strike targeting a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, have been “politicised” and portrayed as the BJP’s achievement, many opposition parties have alleged. Following their complaint, the Election Commission underscored that the Army cannot be used in political campaigning.
PM Modi has accused the opposition, especially the Congress, of talking Pakistan’s language.
He added, “Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, terror camps are being destroyed which is breaking the back of terrorists and Pakistan. This is the work being done by the BJP government and this is the difference,” the Uttar Pradesh chief minister added. “What was namumkin (impossible) for the Congress is mumkin (possible) for PM Modi.
Because when Modi is there, the impossible becomes possible,” he said. Campaigning for sitting MP and Union minister V K Singh, Adityanath earlier listed out the achievements brought in the region under five years of Modi rule in the Centre and two years of his in the state.