Nothing wrong in highlighting SFs’ martyrdom in polls: Modi

TNN Bureau. Updated: 4/16/2019 11:52:46 AM Front Page

‘Committed on Art 370, 35A; NC-PDP blackmailers’

JAMMU: Rejecting allegations that he was using the defence forces in his campaign speeches for winning the polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that nationalism and sacrifices of security force personnel are as much an election issue as the death of farmers,

The Prime Minister also reiterated BJP’s commitment to remove Articles 370 and 35A of Constitution from Jammu and Kashmir and slammed NC president Farooq Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti for their recent remarks on "Kashmir’s separation" and termed them emotional blackmailers.

In an interview to national broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi said the country is suffering because of terrorism for the last 40 years and there is no reason for people not being told about this.

"In a country where thousands of its soldiers have been martyred, shouldn't that be an election issue? If farmers die, then it is an election issue, but when soldiers die then it is not an election issue? How can that be?" the prime minister added.

"We want to strengthen our forces. We have been fighting terrorism for the past 40 years. If we don't tell them what our views are on this, then what is the logic in that? ...Can any country move ahead without the feeling of nationalism," he said.

Opposition parties have lodged complaints to the Election Commission over "politicisation" of the death of 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama and subsequent retaliatory airstrike in Balakot in Pakistan.

Last week, Modi asked first-time voters to dedicate their votes to those who carried out the air strike in Pakistan's Balakot. He also also urged to dedicate their first votes to the security personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack.

The poll panel took notice and the remarks are currently under examination. The poll authorities in Maharashtra's Latur, where he made the speech, have told the Election Commission that prima facie the comments are violative of its orders, asking parties against using the armed forces in their campaigns.

Modi said the country cannot be run without nationalism. "Can any country run without nationalism? If we want to bring Olympic medals, the chances increase if the youth is filled with nationalism," he said.

The Prime Minister said a section of "hyper-secular" people in the country were targeting his government.

Nothing had happened since Nehru's time to resolve Jammu & Kashmir conflict, he said.

"We toed one line for 70 years. There has been no outcome. We prepared roadmaps in regards to Articles 370 and 35 A (of Constitution). Should not we take people into confidence and inform them about it?" he said.

Over the charges of National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti that "Kashmir will be separated", Modi said "They have always used such language. They have resorted to emotional blackmailing and emotional exploitation".

Calling them outdated, Modi said panchayat elections in the state saw 70-75 per cent polling despite a boycot call by these leaders.

Modi in his interview also took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, alleging that he was raking up the Rafale issue to wash the sins of his father.

"He has made the Rafale issue to wash the sins of his father. For the past six months, he has been making it an issue without any proof," he said.

Modi further said that in the past five years his government has addressed the basic requirements of the people that should have been fulfilled within the first ten to twenty years of Independence.

He said that his comments against the Gandhi family was against dynastic politics and his opposition was issue-based and not personal.

"Dynastic politics is the most dangerous thing for a democracy," he said.

Commenting on the Congress's 'NYAY' or minimum income promise, Modi said with the announcement of the scheme, the Congress has accepted that they have done "great injustice" to the people for the past 60 years.

"Will they give nyay (justice)?," he asked, referring to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Talking about BJP's chances in the ongoing elections, Modi said there is an "unprecedented wave of support" for his party.

"I have not seen this even in 2014," he said.

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