Prime Minister Narendra Modi — whose one speech at least is under the Election Commission’s scanner for alleged politicisation of armed forces – on Thursday invoked the suicide attack in Pulwama and the soldiers who died in it. At Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency where he will file nomination for re-election today, the Prime Minister also spoke of the terror attack in Sri Lanka and the threat to national security in the country due to cross-border terror.
“In Pulwama, they made martyrs of 40 of our jawans… After this attack, 42 terrorists in that area have been neutralised. This is our way of working,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“Whether it is the Pulwama attack, Uri attack or any other issue, I have only one mantra with which I have lived — the country comes first, India first,” he said during the address at Dashashwamedh – the holiest of Varanasi’s ghats — on Thursday evening after a seven-km road show.
In an apparent reference to the air strike on a Jaish-e Mohammed terror camp after the Pulwama attack, he also said the world now backed India in its fight against terror.
Sources in the Election Commission have said the officials are contemplating action in case of comments that politicise the armed forces. Dragging the armed forces into the election campaign was barred by the commission after several leaders had invoked the Balakot air strikes in their speeches.
PM Modi has referred to the airstrikes and the Pulwama attack more than once to showcase his party’s stance on national security.
It has triggered opposition allegations that the Election Commission turns a blind eye when it comes to Model Code violations by the Prime Minister or BJP chief Amit Shah.
On Wednesday, sources in the commission told NDTV, “There will soon be action”. When asked to clarify a timeline, the official said, “We will not wait for the election to end. Poll officers are collecting details”.