Making political capital of the surgical strikes against terror launch pads on the Line of Control, BJP and Shiv Sena workers in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to assembly polls next year, have put up hoardings and banners thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Army for the strikes and calling for more.
These banners, posters and hoardings, including one which depicts Modi as Ram, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as Ravan and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as Meghnad, have come up in Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra and Muzaffarnagar.
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BJP workers have organised functions in Agra and Lucknow on Thursday to felicitate Parrikar. A hoarding near the VVIP guest house crossing in Lucknow welcomes the Defence Minister to the city while in the trans-Gomti areas, BJP corporator Ranjeet Singh Yadav has put up hoardings with messages saluting soldiers for the LoC strikes. These hoardings carry images of Modi, Home Minister and Lucknow MP Rajnath Singh, Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma and soldiers. Ranjeet Singh Yadav too is visible.
In the bylanes of Agra, huge banners carry messages from local BJP leaders, congratulating Modi and Parrikar for destroying terrorist camps.
Asked about the banners, Parmendra Jain, BJP media in-charge of Agra Mahanagar, said: “It’s not just about BJP. People everywhere are happy that the Modi government has given Pakistan a befitting reply. Nobody wants to do politics on this issue. But it is obvious we are all happy with the development and want to show our gratitude to Prime Minister Modi and our brave soldiers.”
In Muzaffarnagar, posters at several crossings carry one message: “We will kill you and kill you for sure but with our gun, our bullet, at our time of convenience, but at your place.” The message is next to a large photograph of the Prime Minister. Others featured are BJP president Amit Shah, Union Minister and MP Sanjeev Baliyan, UP party president Keshav Maurya and BJP’s Muzaffarnagar MLA Kapil Agarwal.
Agarwal told The Indian Express that BJP workers had placed the posters. He said no such poster had been removed.
But BJP district president Rupendra Saini said the local unit had nothing to do with the posters. “MLA sahib has his own printing press and he keeps putting up posters. I don’t have any knowledge about such posters,” Saini said.
In Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency, Shiv Sena worker Ajay Chaubey put up posters backing the surgical strikes. The posters carry the Shiv Sena symbol with images and messages announcing ‘Ramroopi Narendra Modiji’, ‘Ravanroopi Pakistan ka ant ho’, ‘Meghnadroopi Kejriwal… Pakistan ke samarthak’. These posters call for more surgical strikes.
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UP Shiva Sena chief Anil Singh disowned the posters, saying Chaubey used to be the party head of Varanasi division until his expulsion last year. But Chaubey maintained he was never expelled and that he was the state co-head of the party. He said he had put up 235 such posters across Varanasi.
“Nawaz Sharif is Ravan of Kalyug and Arvind Kejriwal is like Meghnad because he does not have faith in the Indian Army and media reports. He has asked for evidence of the surgical strikes,” Chaubey said.
Other hoardings in the city, greeting the Prime Minister and the Army for the strikes, carry photographs of Modi, Shah and Maurya.