A week after Imran Khan’s ‘left-handed compliment’ that the BJP-led government’s return to power in India could pave the way for peace talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mocked his Pakistani counterpart on Thursday, saying the neighbouring country has been virtually brought to its knees by New Delhi’s tough stand against terrorism.

Khan’s April 10 comment had given a handle to the Opposition parties, some of whose leaders claimed that the Pulwama and Balakot incidents smacked of ‘match-fixing’ between the two PMs. In return, the BJP had pilloried the Opposition for speaking “Pakistan’s language.”

Addressing an election rally in the coastal Gujarat town of Amreli in the Saurashtra region, Modi claimed that such a tough stand would have been impossible under the previous UPA government due to its “weak-kneed” leadership.

‘Masculine govt’

“After the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, the then Congress-led government did nothing to stop terror attacks. After India’s surgical strike against terrorists in the wake of the Uri attack, the country saw what a “Mard Sarkar” (masculine government) is like,” he said.

After the Pulwama attack, Modi said the Congress and other Opposition parties fancied that the days of the NDA government are numbered. “But Pakistan did not know what Modi is like. It suspected that India could attack from the land or the sea route. But we did it from the air. And, for the first time, the world saw Pakistan weeping.”

Also read:No Pakistani soldier or citizen died in Balakot air strike: Sushma Swaraj

India brought Pakistan virtually to its knees, and it publicly requesting for at least a telephonic conversation with Modi,” the Prime Minister said. However, after the Balakot payback, which made Indians happy, the Congress and other parties were left wailing at the turn of events.

The Congress manifesto, Modi said, made it clear that by diluting the security forces’ powers, through steps such as scrapping the AFPSA and anti-national laws, the main Opposition party could endanger even lives of pilgrims visiting Amarnath and Vaishnodevi. “Do you want to give khuli chhoot (leeway) to terrorists?”

About Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said only two-and-a-half districts of that State are now terror-affected. The violence-free panchayat polls in J&K saw a 75 per cent turnout, vis-à-vis deaths of hundreds in violent local body elections in West Bengal.

“Peace is returning to J&K due to the government’s tough stand and the Army’s containment of terror. No bomb blasts took place anywhere else in India in the last five years,” he added.

“India can no longer risk bringing the Congress back to power as this party is in a terminal state of decline, from 400-plus Lok Sabha seats to 40-plus now. “Those drowning cannot be entrusted with the reins of the country,” he said.

Sardar statue

Referring to the Statue of Unity , Modi said it had not been built to belittle Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

“The stature of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was so tall that one need not lower anyone’s to make it look taller. The Congress claims that Patel was its leader but no Congress leader has visited it so far to pay respect sto the Iron Man.”