Modi plays nationalism card, rakes up surgical strike in Karnataka


Kalaburagi (Karnataka), May 3: Playing the nationalism card, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the Congress of “insulting national heroes” and the Indian Army by “questioning” the veracity of cross-border surgical strikes.
He also said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi “disrespected” the national song ‘Vande Mataram’.
“Forgetting national heroes, patriots and history is the nature of a family in the Congress. (Jawaharlal) Nehru and VK Krishna Menon insulted General (KS) Thimayya, who had to resign. They neglected General (KM) Cariappa,” Modi told an election rally at Kalaburagi in Karnataka, as he sought to connect with the voters of the home state of the two Army legends.
Invoking Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the PM said independent India’s first home minister was instrumental in forcing the Nizam of Hyderabad, who controlled the region where Kalaburagi is located, to accede to the country.
“But one family in the Congress loses its sleep whenever Sardar Patel’s name crops up,” he said.
Seeking to appeal to patriotic sentiments of voters, the prime minister raked up the issue of cross-border surgical strikes, claiming the Congress questioned the genuineness of the assault by the Indian Army.
“They (Congress) sought proof about the genuineness of the surgical strike. Bodies of Pakistani soldiers were carried on trucks, a newspaper said that… and they need proof. Should our soldiers go on such operations with a camera or a gun?” he said.
The PM said a Congress leader even called the Army chief a “goonda” (gangster) after the surgical strike.
He reached out to farmers of Karnataka, saying his government would take up farming of pulses in a big way.
Rejecting the Congress’ claim that it was a champion of Dalit causes, Modi referred to “atrocity” on a Dalit girl in Karnataka’s Bidar. “But the state’s ruling party did not speak about it. They had no candlelight protests,” he said.
“This party (Congress) only knows how to prostrate before the members of one family. But we have decided to construct memorials to the tribals who fought against the British since 1857 to 1947 when India became independent,” he said. (PTI)