By Priyanka Gupta
New Delhi, October 6: PM Modi’s reprimand to BJP leaders to not indulge in “chest thumping” or “frivolous commentary” and pronounce success of surgical strikes conducted by Army in LoC seems to have fallen into deaf ears as far as Union Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar is concerned.
Capitalising on the valour of the Indian armed forces, the minister was felicitated for “success” of “surgical strikes” in Agra today by the party units. Later he will reach Lucknow for a similar ceremony.
In the poll bound Uttar Pradesh several posters to congratulate and praise Prime Minister Modi and Parrikar surfaced on a large scale. It is shameful that the party leaders could not spare a little space to hail the real heroes, comprising Indian army.
There were no posters to felicitate either the armed forces for conducting the successful operations cross border or to pay tribute to Uri attack martyrs.
The opposition parties including Congress and AAP have criticized BJP for politicising operations across border. The BJP is accused for banking upon the goodwill of army operations and surgical strikes to seek political mileage. The opposition has also demanded the proof of surgical strikes after Pakistan’s denial of the same to the international media.
But Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Agra questioned the loyalty of those who asked for the proof. He said asking for the proof is like doubting the Army. The defiant Minister said that there is no need to give out any video of surgical strikes.
Last week, Parikar also said, “Lord Hanuman did not know of his powers before going to Lanka. Similarly, I made our armed forces realise their power…On the orders of Modiji, the Army did a great job.”
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted that the statement is disgraceful and the union minister seems to be unaware about the glorious history of Indian Army.
Mr Parrikar withdraw your statement and apologise to the Indian Army. No Defence Minister of India has made such a disgraceful statement.
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 5, 2016
Does he mean that before he became Defence Minister Army didn't know what they stood for ? Is he aware of the glorious history of our Army ?
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 5, 2016
It is the third time post surgical strikes when the PMO has asked BJP ministers to use a word of caution while speaking to media and public at large. However the same day the prime minister showed his “concerns” in the cabinet meeting and asked his ministers to exercise restrain while talking about army operations, big posters appeared on the streets of UP to congratulate Prime Minister and Defense Minister.
Interestingly the visit of Defense Minister is scheduled just a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit for the valedictory session of a Ramlila in Lucknow. With upturned political mileage following the felicitation, Prime Minister will reach the state capital on the 11th of October. The program is well planned by the party think tanks to implicate votes in UP.
Lashing out BJP for using surgical strikes for political mileage and setting up a pre electoral propaganda in UP, Ambika Chowdhury of ruling Samajwadi Party also said:“This is a festival, let it remain one.”
Senior leader of Congress and former Home Minister P Chidambaram also said that Union Defense Minister’s statements are frivolous. Chidambaram also demanded explanation from the Modi government for political posters in poll bound Uttar Pradesh.
Parrikar had given several controversial statements since the surgical strikes to boast off the present government’s achievements. Post surgical strikes, he had also said that Pakistan was like a patient in coma following India’s surgical strikes.
Minister of Urban Development of India Venkaiah Naidu also said that Pakistan is like a thief bitten by a scorpion and cannot even cry.
Earlier a similar victory rally was organized by Goa BJP wing to felicitate Parrikar which was later called off due to Baramullah attack. The huge posters eulogizing PM Modi and Parrikar had appeared in Goa.
Congress Goa spokesman Sunil Kawathankar had said: What is needed is motivating our armed forces and if the BJP wants to felicitate, it must be our brave soldiers. It is time we stop politicising the strikes.
“If Parrikar accepts the felicitation, he should also take responsibility and step down when attacks like in Baramullah happen,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had also said that surgical strikes were conducted thrice during the congress regime but “in its maturity, wisdom and in the interest of national security” the Congress Government had never made any loud claims.
Amidst high action packed script laid down by political parties in UP, it is apparent that our ministers are clever enough to accept the felicitation after the success of army operations like surgical strikes. They were and they are never set accountable for security and intelligence lapses causing Uri attack or Pathankot strike where we lost our soldiers.
The celebration at the center is dearer than the plight of soldiers on the border. For, post Uri attack on September 18, where we lost 20 soldiers, several attacks on army base camps have been reported and causalities are just adding the numbers and our Ministers do not forget to accept the felicitation!