Pulwama terrorists had handed Narendra Modi the 2019 elections on a platter. War is a political tool for BJP and Modi’s yesterday’s address to his party workers underlies this fact. Batman, Baahubali, fakes news, “enemy” conspiracies, the difference between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the government’s achievements — were some of the topics that Modi spoke about Thursday in his 85-minute interaction with BJP workers.
Modi chose to be political, talked about his government’s achievements and also sought to send a message to Pakistan. One thing that did not find mention in his speech was Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who Pakistan claims is in its custody.
Modi interacted with BJP workers and volunteers at the booth level from across 15,000 locations in the country under the ‘Mera Booth, Sabse Mazboot’ initiative.
He chose to be unapologetically political, combative towards the opposition, spoke extensively about what his government has done, while also seeking to send out a message to Pakistan. However, the missing reference to the IAF pilot was the most conspicuous, especially given Modi’s silence in public and on Twitter for 24 hours after Pakistan claimed to have captured Abhinandan.
The BJP has come under heavy criticism from several quarters for going ahead with this political event — which it touted as the world’s largest video conference — at a time of escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.
His speech falls under a situation where war clouds are looming over India and Pakistan, and the tension escalates in the subcontinent. World leaders are advising India and Pakistan to exercise restraint as both of them made advances into the territory of the other. The situation is still tensed, and anything can happen with a small spark from either side.
National polls are likely to be announced in the next few days. Many in the BJP have not wasted time in making the point. Whether it is BJP President Amit Shah or the BJP state chief of Karnataka, both have done so. Yeduriappa said that the war would help BJP to win elections. He went on to state that BJP will win 22 seats in Karnataka if the war prevails. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale called the strikes a “non-military pre-emptive action,” emphasising that the target was a terror camp.
In what seemed to be a message not only to Pakistan but also to those who have criticised him for continuing with his political activities, Modi said: “no matter what, our work should not stop.”
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