Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction with BJP workers and volunteers was a "betrayal of national sentiments", Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said today as she joined Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in criticising the "Mera Booth, Sabse Mazboot" event through which the prime minister interacted with over 1 crore BJP workers from 15,000 locations across the country. The mega video conference was held amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan.
"At a time when India is facing hostility of war and country needs firm leadership, PM Narendra Modi instead of concentrating on the matters of national security trying to serve political interest by addressing his BJP workers is ridiculous besides betrayal of national sentiments (sic), Mayawati wrote on Twitter.
The prime minister, Ms Mayawati said, should chalk out a strategy to ensure safe return of the Air Force pilot who is currently in Pak custody.
"Indian forces foiled Pakistani attack yesterday it is a matter of big relief but an IAF pilot is under Pak custody is a matter of great concern. India should try to do its best at all levels to ensure safe return of the pilot only then the country will feel relief (sic)," she added.
The Congress and the AAP have criticised the BJP and the Prime Minister for going ahead with the event after the capture of an Indian Air Force pilot by Pakistan.
"Right now, we are faced with a crisis. We want the pilot back. We want to know how is he. Everybody is worried about him. And you are worried about addressing some booth workers?" a Congress spokesperson told NDTV.
The Congress has already cancelled its working committee meet that was scheduled for today. Twenty-one opposition parties on Wednesday expressed "deep anguish" over what they alleged was "blatant politicisation" of the sacrifices of armed forces and urged the government to take the nation into confidence on all measures to protect India's sovereignty, unity and integrity.
AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has postponed his hunger strike - scheduled to begin on March 1 - due to the "prevailing Indo-Pak situation".
A pilot of the Indian Air Force was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday after an air combat that marked the worst escalation between the neighbours in decades. Videos circulated by Pakistani accounts showed the pilot blindfolded and wounded, his arms tied behind his back, being interrogated; later, a video showed the pilot sipping tea, saying that "officers of the Pakistani army have looked after me well".
The government has demanded the "immediate and safe return" of the pilot.
With inputs from PTI