NEW DELHI: Union Minister Jitendra Singh Monday said that Kashmir-centric leaders are rattled by the Balakot air strikes and are unable to digest the countrywide popular support received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first-of-its-kind anti-terrorist action launched against Pakistan in the past 70 years.
His assertion came in response to recent tweets by National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on the prime minister's remarks that cloud cover "helped" IAF planes evade Pakistani radars during the Balakot strikes.
Singh said that much harm has been done to the country by these Twitter-savvy activists who consider themselves to be "know-alls".
In an interview to a private news channel aired on Saturday, Modi said he relied on his "raw wisdom" to dispel doubts of defence experts who wanted the air strikes to be deferred due to inclement weather.
"The weather was not good on the day of air strike. There was a thought that crept in the minds of the experts that the day of strike should be changed. However, I suggested that the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars," Modi said while talking about the cross-border strike on terror camps in response to the Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.
Reacting to Modi's remarks, Mehbooba tweeted on Sunday, "No secret that Balakot strikes failed to hit the intended target. Was it because PM overruled the advice of IAF & authorised airstrikes in bad weather? Cloud cover logic is painfully embarrassing. Remind me again, why is RG (Congress president Rahul Gandhi) derided as Pappu?" Abdullah had on Saturday tweeted, "Pakistani radar doesn't penetrate clouds.
This is an important piece of tactical information that will be critical when planning future air strikes."
In an apparent response to these tweets, Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), said, "While we are proud that we are seeking votes on the basis of our pledge and commitment to the national security of India, it is for the NC and PDP leadership to regret that they have not been able to sell the slogan of so-called autonomy, pre-1953 status, self-rule, etc."
"Such NC leaders who accuse us of arousing the sentiment of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', should be ashamed of the fact that their attempt to sell the separatist and pro-Pakistan sentiment has been out-rightly rejected by the people and they have quietly conceded the point that it is the BJP and its commitment to 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' which will rein supreme during and after the election," he said.
Coming down heavily on the Congress and National Conference leaders who allege lack of development in Jammu and Kashmir in the past five years, Singh said that it is on the contrary, for these party leaders to explain why they could not bring about development in the last six decades and what was their contribution till 2014 before the BJP came to power.
He said it is "ridiculous" that NC leaders go around giving interviews and shedding crocodile tears over poor development in the hilly regions from where their party representatives were ministers for over half a century.
Singh challenged any opposition leaders to compare the last five years of development in J&K with any of the previous five-year parliamentary terms.
"We are fortunate to redeem the sins of Congress and NC, but we will not allow these parties to pass on their sins to us, which we shall continue to expose and keep reminding people day after day," he said.