Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a swipe at his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan over his claim that Indo-Pak peace talks will have a better chance if the BJP wins in Lok Sabha polls, saying it was an attempt by the former cricketer to influence the elections in India with his reverse swing. He also noted that Imran Khan had used a slogan targeting him during Pakistan elections.
"We should not forget that Imran Khan was a cricketer and his recent statement was an attempt at reverse swing to influence Indian elections. However, Indians know how to hit a ''helicopter shot'' on a reverse swinging delivery," he told The Times of India in an interview published on Wednesday.
"We should also remember how he used my name during Pakistan elections. His slogan was: Modi ka jo yaar hai, woh gaddar hai woh gaddar hai''," the prime minister added.
The Congress had used Imran Khan's comments to corner the BJP, which has often hurled pro-Pakistan barbs at its rivals.
In the interview, PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will win more seats than before, saying he is seeing "unprecedented" support for the party and that the first phase of polling on April 11 has reinforced his confidence.
PM Modi had led the BJP to its first ever majority in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 winning 282 of the total 543 seats.
To a question about criticism that that the BJP has resorted to "hyper-nationalism" instead of focusing on real issues in its campaign, PM Modi said that a large part of speeches is dedicated to the issues of development but they never make headlines.
He then asked if decades of terrorism and deaths of soldiers cannot be considered as real issues.
"Those who did absolutely nothing about the critical issues of national security are now having problems when India is making a strategic shift in security issues."
Hitting back at the opposition's charge of politicisation of armed forces, PM Modi said, "Politicisation of the Army happened when they created a fake news of revolt by the Army to gain sympathy. It happened when credit for victory in the 1971 war was given to Indira ji."
Asserting that patriotism is not a "disease", he said as hyper-secularism was invented to strike at the root of India's culture and ethos, similarly the terminology of hyper-nationalism has been invented to portray ''deshbhakti'' (patriotism) in poor light.
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