National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah today joined the political battle over the airstrikes on the Jaish-e Mohammad camp at Balakot, saying the BJP-led government had conducted it with an eye to winning coming national elections. The impact of the February 26 air strikes have become a matter of controversy, with various opposition parties demanding the government reveal the number of terrorists killed and provide evidence.
Mr Abdullah took it up a notch today, saying: "This surgical strike (air strike) was done only for the purpose of election...totally for the election. We lost an aircraft worth crores of rupees. Be thankful that the IAF pilot (Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman) survived and returned from Pakistan with respect."
The lawmaker from Srinagar said the BJP has failed on every front and that there would be a "fight or a skirmish with Pakistan in Kashmir so that he (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) becomes some kind of an 'avatar' without whom India cannot survive", reported news agency Press Trust Of India.
"I want to tell him that whether he or I live or not, India will live and move forward," Mr Abdullah added.
The Jaish terror attack in Pulwama of February 14 and the subsequent airstrikes have kept Kashmir at the forefront of political discourse for several weeks. Kashmiris leaders have been critical about the government's response to the opposition questions and perturbed about the backlash against Kashmiris living in other parts of the country.
The Election Commission's decision not to hold the state polls along with the national elections have further upset them. Yesterday, Mr Abdullah's son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of giving in to Pakistan and terrorists.