The opposition has scored a self-goal by asking for proof of damage following air strike on Balakot terror camp, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday.

The air strike and surgical strike carried out by the armed forces should not be part of Lok Sabha election campaign, he said at an India TV event here. “I fully agree with the Election Commission that images of martyrs should not be used on political posters,” he said. Citing example of 1971 war, he said, the entire opposition stood by the ruling dispensation, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leader of Jan Sangh, defended the government on every forum.

However, the Finance Minister said, some of the opposition members accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of politicising the Pulwama and Balakot incidents. Statements made by 21 opposition parties hurt India’s national interest and gave handle to Pakistan to discredit the country, he added.

“Raising question on the action of armed forces with the view to creating doubts in the mind of countrymen was self-goal or shot themselves in the foot by doing this,” Jaitley noted. In contrast to this, he said, when the US attacked Osama bin Laden, no one raised any question on the operation conducted by their armed forces and demanded the proof.

Asked about BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa’s attempt to politicise the action taken by the armed forces, Jaitley said, it was wrong on his part to do so and the party has condemned it. The valour of armed forces should not be made a political issue, he said, adding the armed forces have to be kept at arm’s length from domestic politics.

On the government’s message to Pakistan, the Finance Minister said, “if you promote terrorism, you have to pay such a heavy price that you will find terrorism unaffordable...the trend has been set now”. Taking a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he said some people either need to learn more and if they don’t do that then must realise that they are unfit for public discourse.

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