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On home pitch, Modi bowls the ‘national security’ line

Virendra Pandit Gandhinagar | Updated on April 21, 2019 Published on April 21, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre) with BJP candidates from North Gujarat at the last campaign rally in Patan on Sunday   -  Vijay Soneji

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said after the IAF jets struck terror camps at Balakot in Pakistan, he had sent out a stern warning to Islamabad: Do not harm captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman or you will face consequences.

Addressing his last public meeting at Patan on the last day of the poll campaign, he recalled his government’s steps to strengthen India’s safety and security.

“It does not matter whether I remain the PM or not. I have decided that terror will not be allowed until I am alive,” he said.

IAF Wing Commander Varthaman was captured in Pakistan on February 27. He was released on March 1 after national and international pressure.

Modi said after Abhinandan’s capture, the Opposition thought that the NDA would suffer. “But we warned Pakistan of the consequences if our pilot was harmed in any manner,” he said.

He quoted a senior US official saying that India had 12 missiles kept in readiness to attack Pakistan, should the situation worsen.

“Pakistan had to release the pilot or it could become a qatal ki raat (night of deaths),” he said.

He, however, clarified that he had nothing to say on this right now but would do so at an “appropriate time”.

Retaliation for Pulwama

The Prime Minister emphasised that people expected him to do something after the Pulwama terror attack.

“What did you expect me to do? Would you have forgiven me if I had done what the Manmohan Singh Government did after the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai?” he asked.

He said he gave the security forces a free hand. Pakistan tried to protect its borders. “But we are disciples of Lord Hanuman,” he said, reminding the people of Hanuman Jayanti on Friday, adding: “We conducted the air strikes, (and) their story ended.”

For many days, he said, the Opposition parties pressed the NDA government to provide “proof” of the IAF’s strike at Balakot. “After the first- and second-phase polling, the Congress has stopped doing so as it infuriated the people,” he said.

The PM also mocked Sharad Pawar, who, on Saturday, stated that he was ‘scared’ of what Modi would do next.

“If the NCP chief is uncertain of what I will do next, how could (Pakistani PM) Imran Khan know (what I will do next)?” he asked.

While attacking the Congress regimes for allegedly ignoring the country’s defence preparedness since 1985, Modi said his government had begun artillery manufacturing at three facilities in India, including one at Hazira in Gujarat.

“One of our Howitzers can attack Pakistan from a distance of 48 km from Nadabet (Gujarat). Also, a major IAF base will come up at Deesa (North Gujarat). In addition, an ordnance factory in Amethi (UP) will manufacture advanced versions of AK-47 assault rifles,” he added.

Confident of win

Referring to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assertion that the Muslims had the first right to the country’s natural resources, Modi said India’s poor, Dalits, tribals, the exploited and others had the actual right on these resources.

Exuding confidence that the BJP will win all the 26 LS seats in Gujarat, Modi said: “Even you have decided it. I am your son and, after seeing my achievements as the Chief Minister for so many years, you have sent me to serve the country. Our victory is a foregone conclusion. But if some lacuna remained, there will be debates on TV on the day of counting of votes as to why it happened.”

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Published on April 21, 2019
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