On a day when over 200 people were killed in a series of blasts in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issues of national security, terrorism and the air strike in Pakistan in two separate election rallies in Rajasthan, suggesting that India had not maintained a nuclear arsenal “for Diwali”.
In Barmer, Modi brought up the air strike to say that “we killed terrorists in their home”. In Chittorgarh, he asked voters to remember that they are “voting against terrorism when they press the Lotus”, the BJP’s party symbol, on voting day.
In Barmer, Modi said: “Bharat ne Pakistan ki dhamki se darne ki neeti ko chod diya. Yeh theek kiya na maine? Warna aaye din, ‘humare paas nuclear button hai, nuclear button hai’. Yehi kehte thhe? Humare akbaarwale bhi likthe thhe, Pakistan ke paas bhi nuclear hai. Toh humare paas kya hai, bhai, yeh Diwali ke liye rakha hai kya?” “(India has discarded the policy of being scared of Pakistan’s threats. I did right, didn’t I? Because every other day, they would say, ‘we have the nuclear button’. Isn’t that what they used to say? Our newspapers also wrote, ‘Pakistan, too, has a nuclear weapon’. So what do we have, is it kept for Diwali?)”
Attacking the Congress party, he said that in the 1971 India-Pak war, “we had a massive chunk of Pakistan with us, 90,000 Pakistani soldiers were in our custody. But what did the government do in Shimla, it forsake all that our jawans had earned. There was pressure from the world and the government was so shaken that it laid the matter to rest by signing (the Shimla agreement). Had Modi been there at that time….?”
The Prime Minister said that having 90,000 prisoners of war “was a golden opportunity, a trump card, to solve the Kashmir issue”. “But the opportunity was missed and the entire country is suffering now,” he said.
Referring again to Diwali, Modi said he spends the festival with soldiers on the border. “During last Diwali, I was in the Himalayas. Then, a senior Sikh soldier, with a few white hair, sidestepped discipline and approached me. He said, ‘I am a humble soldier and will retire soon, so I have a request’. When I asked what it was, he said he doesn’t want to retire ‘just like this… send me to a place where I get a chance to kill the enemies bravely. I have a few months left for retirement, send me to the biggest den of terrorists, I want to retire after doing something for the nation’.”
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In Chittorgarh earlier, Modi referred to the blasts in Sri Lanka and said, “With all its strength, India stands with Sri Lankans today. India is ready to help Sri Lanka in its hour of crisis.”
He went on to invoke Maharana Pratap and Rani Padmini, and said, “Do you want to see a strong Bharat or a helpless Bharat. Do you want an India that gives a befitting reply to Pakistan and terrorists or one that is subdued by it and sits quietly after a terror attack?”