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BJP hopes to ride high on nationalist plank in poll bound UP

October 07, 2016 08:48 IST

The party also expects opposition parties to help its agenda by raising the issue of making the video footage of surgical strikes public, reports Archis Mohan.

IMAGE: BJP supporters celebrate at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's rally in Agra. Photograph: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to keep the nationalistic fervour over the Uri attack and the subsequent surgical strikes by the Indian Army simmer until the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in early 2017.

Starting on Thursday with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being felicitated by party workers in Agra and Lucknow, the BJP has plans to hold a series of public events in Uttar Pradesh to be attended by its senior leaders, including party president Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

These events would help keep the focus on the army’s action on the Line of Control. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to attend Dussehra celebrations in Lucknow on October 11.

The BJP also expects opposition parties to help its nationalistic agenda by raising the issue of making public the video footage of surgical strikes, particularly during the winter session of the Parliament, likely to begin in the second week of November. On Thursday, BJP leaders dismissed media reports that Prime Minister Modi advised his ministers to not indulge in war hysteria or chest thumping on the army having avenged the Uri attacks.

“All he had said was that we should be responsible in our statements,” a party leader said. The PM’s advice, the leader said, was in the context of statements by party MPs like Vinay Katiyar and Sakshi Maharaj, who seemed to give the recent India-Pakistan tensions a Hindu-Muslim tinge.

“Our plank is nationalism. All the people of India of any religion are united in their resolve to give a befitting response to Pakistan,” a party leader said. In both Agra and Lucknow, Parrikar continued with his aggressive speeches.

“If someone attacks us, we’ll give a befitting reply; instead of sacrificing one’s life, it is better to kill the enemy,” Parrikar said in Lucknow.

In Agra, the defence minister questioned the loyalty of those who have sought proof of the strikes. “Some ex-servicemen wrote to me and said they are ready to fight on the border if the need arises. I salute them,” he said.

Parrikar said the government will not share any video footage of the strikes. He also said the forces and citizens will have to be vigilant against “frustrated” terrorists, who will try and attack because of the shame they have been put to as a result of the surgical strikes.

As for the winter session of the Parliament, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs is scheduled to meet in mid-October to decide on the dates. The session, which usually starts in the third week of November, is all set to be advanced to the second week of November.

Sources said the government’s keenness to ensure the passage of the Goods and Services Tax enabling Bills and the advancing of the presentation of the Union Budget to February 1 means that the winter session might start on November 7.

Archis Mohan
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