Addressing a rally in Jammu on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Islamabad’s nuclear threats had been blown to bits, adding that he didn’t bow before any such “dhamki”. He also accused the Congress of “stopping the Army from taking strong action against terrorists”, as it feared “a 1962-type situation”.
At the rally in Kathua, he accused National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party leaders of issuing threats of “seceding from India” every day. “Yeh pehle Pakistan bhi nuclear ki dhamki deta tha. Uski nuclear ke parkhachchey nikal gaye ki nahin (Earlier Pakistan too used to give nuclear threats. Haven’t we blown that to bits)?” he said. “Gone are the days when the government of India used to come under pressure following threats. This is new India and we will kill terrorists right inside their houses and also expose those supporting them.”
Kathua falls under Udhampur-Doda constituency, that votes on April 18.
Questioning the NC and PDP for talking “two PMs, two Consitutions and two flags” (Article 370 mentions the same), Modi referred to the Abdullahs and Muftis by name, and said, “I want to tell them, ‘Yeh Modi hai jo bikta nahin hai, jhukta nahin hai aur darta bhi nahin hai (This is Modi, who cannot be bought, scared or made to bow)’.”
Addressing another rally, in Aligarh, that also votes in the second phase, Modi said the Opposition would not have spared him had there been even a “chhoti chook (small mistake)” during the Balakot air strikes, but that he went ahead as “Modi does not care for himself, but the country”.
Criticising the Congress in his Kathua speech, the PM said it saw the defence forces as only a source for making money. “In defence deals, whether Bofors, submarine or helicopter (Agusta), the Congress gave no importance to defence forces except taking payoffs.”
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Without making any reference to the India-China war, Modi said the Congress feared strong action by security forces against terrorists, “as it apprehended that if it allowed them to act, it will lead to a 1962-type situation, which will finish it forever”.
He added, “Today when they raise questions over surgical strikes and air strikes, they are in fact hiding their own failures and making an attempt to save their vote bank. They know that their questions demoralise security forces, but the Congress commits this sin.”
Questioning the Congress manifesto’s promise to review AFSPA, he said Modi is standing like “a wall in their way” and asked the Congress to tell the nation “what was compelling it to make such promises”. “Who has promised to help you in this election?”
Modi, who began his address paying tributes to B R Ambedkar, said the late leader had called dynasty rule the biggest enemy of democracy.
He also paid tributes to killed BJP leaders Anil Parihar and brother Ajit Parihar, and RSS functionary Rajinder Kumar, saying the country will always remember their “sacrifice”.
In his Aligarh speech, that drew a rapturous crowd, Modi claimed the “characters of mahamilawat (referring to the SP-BSP-RLD alliance)” had intensified their attacks on him having sensed the “reality” following the first phase of voting on April 11.
Switching to the national security theme, he said, “Tell me should terrorism be eliminated or not? Should terrorists be killed by entering Pakistan or not?”
Had his government erred in the surgical strikes or air strikes, Modi added, “… agar maano usmein chhoti si chook ho gayi hoti, aur hamein nuksan ho gaya hota, ye saare virodhi Modi ki chamdi ukhed lete ki nahin (Just imagine, had there been a small mistake, had we suffered losses, would the Opposition not have skinned me)? But should decisions be taken based on what will happen to Modi?”
He also promised to build a “Defence Corridor”, of which Aligarh will be the “biggest beneficiary”.
In an apparent allusion to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, which left over 60 dead and thousands displaced, the PM said everyone knows who “shielded” the accused and “ignored” the pleas of the victims for justice. “Western UP mein kitna bada paap hua tha, the entire country was witness to that. How girls and women were misbehaved with, how men had to flee… When western UP was burning and innocent were being killed, everyone knows who ignored the cries of the victims,” Modi said.
The PM had to pause more than once as people climbed poles to catch a glimpse of him. At one point, frenzied sloganeering of “Modi, Modi” forced him to request the crowd to calm down. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was also present at the rally.
In his Aligarh speech too, Modi made a detailed mention of Ambedkar, whose portrait formed the backdrop of the stage, and said, “This is the strength of Babasaheb’s Constitution that today a good man from an exploited community is the country’s President, a farmer’s son is the Vice-President and a chaiwallah is the Prime Minister.”
Asserting that in the 2014 and 2017 elections, the people of UP had rejected caste, Modi said the SP and BSP continue to be in denial of this. “The 2019 verdict will force them to buy locks from Aligarh,” he said, mocking how the leaders of the two parties that were not even contesting 40 seats from UP were dreaming of occupying the PM’s chair.
The BJP has again fielded its MP Satish Gautam from Aligarh. He is pitted against the BSP’s Ajit Baliyan.
The party’s Udhampur-Doda candidate is Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh, who is seeking re-election from the seat.