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Modi’s Lok Sabha campaign to focus on air strikes and PM Kisan Nidhi

"The strikes happened in Pakistan but the shock and pain can be felt in India on the faces of opposition leaders", said PM Modi.

Last Updated: Mar 06, 2019, 08.31 AM IST
New Delhi & Ahmedabad: The surgical strikes in Pakistan and the PM Kisan Nidhi Samman scheme for farmers will be the two main pitches of a whirlwind election campaign being planned for Prime Minister Narendra Modi from mid-March, with the number of rallies expected to rise to two to three daily from April, which may translate to over 150 rallies in all by Modi.

On Tuesday too, Modi focused on both these issues while speaking at a rally in Dhar in Madhya Pradesh, attacking the Opposition for questioning the strikes in Pakistan as part of a strategy to counter the Congress on the issue of nationalism.

“The air strikes have happened in Pakistan but the shock and the pain can be felt in India on the faces of Opposition leaders. They are trying for an international mahamilawat (adulterated alliance) with Pakistan -- they abuse Modi here and become headlines in Pakistan,” Modi said in Dhar.

He said that by asking for proof of the strikes, asking for a body-count of terrorists and painting Pakistan as a peacenik, the Opposition leaders have become poster-boys in Pakistan and were weakening the fight against terror as well as lowering the morale of the armed forces.

“They want to a strike on Modi while Modi is doing a strike on terror. IAF gave a solid reply to terrorists by entering their homes -- a message was also given to their harbourers that there is no option for them but to mend their ways and if they don’t, what will be done has also been told to them,” Modi said.

Elsewhere in Gujarat, the PM had struck a similar tone while addressing a public meeting in Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on Monday, where he spoke of a New India that will not bend before terror and will avenge itself thoroughly, and if necessary, will even enter the homes of its enemies.

Modi even castigated the earlier governments for lacking the political will to carry out strikes within Pakistan in the aftermath of Ahmedabad blasts and 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

BJP leaders ET spoke to maintained that the air strikes indeed have provided the party with a new template for campaigning in the days ahead.

Modi’s repeated reference to the strikes and the Rs 6000-a-year farmers scheme is expected to have a “pan-country resonance” unlike other issues, the party feels, given Modi’s image of a hardline leader when it comes to Pakistan and the pay-out to farmers being projected as a direct benefit rather than a “dodgy loan waiver promise” of Congress, a senior functionary told ET. The second instalment of the PM Kisan scheme will be given to farmers in the first week of April after Cabinet approval this week.

The PM’s campaign pitch is expected to get more aggressive on the nationalism issue, with him comparing the Congress response post the 26/11 attacks to the ones after the Uri and Pulwama terror attacks. “Who can take on terrorists? Not Modi, but the country’s 125 crore people. Congress adopted a soft approach on terrorism -- they sat quietly after terror strikes,” Modi said on Tuesday. He attacked Congress leader Digvijaya Singh for calling the Pulwama attack an “incident”, saying the same leader gave Pakistan a clean chit in the 26/11 case.

Modi is expected to do maximum election rallies in Uttar Pradesh from where the maximum martyrs in Pulwama hailed from and where the party is facing a stiff challenge from the SP-BSP-RLD alliance. The earlier surgical strike after the Uri attack is believed to have swung the state elections in UP for the BJP.

Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Khoon Ki Dalali’ comment against Modi had then helped the BJP rally voters behind the party. BJP reckons comments of Congress leaders like Digvijaya Singh will return to haunt the party again.
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