Tearing into the Congress and TMC, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday accused them of strengthening Pakistan-based terrorists by questioning, demoralising Indian security forces and said he would stand like a wall between such attempts and national security.
Referring to the Congress manifesto promise of changing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, he said the party wants to “remove the shield for Army men”.
Addressing rallies in Siliguri and Kolkata to mark the start of his poll campaign in West Bengal and another in Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, Modi dismissed the Congress manifesto as a sham: “On May 23, both the Congress and its dhakosla patra will be gone.”
Referring to the Balakot air strike and doubts expressed by some in the Opposition on the body count there, he said: “When the wound has been inflicted there (in Pakistan), why do you (Opposition) feel the pain? The Didi sitting in Kolkata felt more pain than was felt in Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi.”
He called Banerjee a “speed breaker” on the road to development of the state and claimed she wanted poverty to remain so that her “politics of poverty” can flourish.
Speaking at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, Modi said: “In its dhakosla patra (sham manifesto), Congress plans to remove the shield for Army men. It plans to remove the law which protects the Army in areas which witness terrorist activities… don’t you think it will strengthen the hands of terrorists who sit in Pakistan and unleash terror in India?”
“The Congress with its appeasement politics has always bowed down to terrorists. It was the Congress which removed TADA. It was the Congress which removed POTA. What the Congress is doing is breaking the self-confidence of our Army. Trinamool Congress is part of this sin… Modi will not allow the evil designs of Congress to be fulfilled. May 23 is the expiry date of their manifesto,” he said.
Targeting Banerjee, he said: “There are some people in this country who are questioning the air strikes. Who sought proof of bodies in Pakistan? Who doubted the capabilities of our Army? Who insulted the army? Bablu Santra and Sudip Biswas, both from Bengal, laid down their lives in Pulwama. Were they not insulted?”.
On the air strike and the anti-satellite weapon test, Modi said: “Even earlier our armed forces had the capability to conduct air strikes. Even earlier our scientists had the capability to shoot down a satellite. But the then government lacked the will and courage,” he said.
In Pasighat, Modi told a rally: “To increase separatism in the country, to encourage violence, to encourage those who abuse the country, the Congress has a scheme. The Congress has sympathy for those who burn the Tricolour and insult it, who don’t sa‘ ‘Jai Hind’ like all of you do, but raise slogans o‘ ‘Bharat tere tukde honge’, who play into the hands of foreign powers, who insult our heritage, who break statues of great personalities like Babasaheb Ambedkar.”
Referring to the Congress manifesto, he said: “The Congress has promised to end laws against those who do not follow the Constitution or the law of the country. You tell me whether there should be stringent laws against traitors (deshdroh karne wale). If traitors are given a free hand, then won’t you face trouble? Won’t there be trouble in the country?”.
He said like the chowkidars who keep telling people “jaagte raho”, he was doing the same. “Your chowkidar is telling you ‘jaagte raho’. He is warning you against their false promises,” he said.