JAIPUR: Political rhetoric in the already surcharged Lok Sabha election campaign scaled a whole new peak on Friday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh attempting surgical strikes against each other.
Joining issue with Singh, who on Thursday claimed multiple cross-border surgical strikes happened during his watch as the head of the state, too — Congress leader Rajeev Shukla later put the UPA surgical strike count at six — Modi sought to mock them, saying the grand old party might have confused cross-border military action with video games.
“They perhaps strike at video games, that’s why people intended to be affected by it do not know about it across the borders or in India,” he said, while addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Sikar.This was perhaps the first time Modi was rubbishing Congress’ claims on surgical strikes during UPA rule. “What kind of strike was this that neither the terrorists knew about it, nor those who carried them out?” he wondered.
“First, they said they carried out three surgical strikes. Then, yesterday, they said they conducted six. In the next few days, they will say they carried out surgical strikes daily... By the time elections are over, this number would increase to 600,” he quipped.
Touched to the quick, Congress leader Ahmed Patel said: “The strike by this government is genuine, but those done by soldiers and our Air Force during earlier governments, were they only on paper?” He called Modi’s statement an insult to soldiers who conducted surgical strikes under UPA.
PM insulted courage of soldiers: Congress
The Congress said the PM’s “shameless utterances” were a direct insult to the bravery of the soldiers. “Modiji has even faulted the statement of the then Army chief General Bikram Singh on the surgical strike dated December 23, 2013,” it said