- Yogi Adityanath described the army as "Modi ji ki sena" at a poll rally
- Modi-ji's Sena gives terrorists "golis and golas", Mr Adityanath had said
- Mamata Banerjee called it "shocking" that he used the words for the army
Yogi Adityanath's descriptor "Modi ji ki sena" for the Indian Army at a rally for the April-May national election has provoked condemnation from the Congress, which calls it an insult to the armed forces. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister was addressing a rally in Ghaziabad near Delhi on Sunday when he used the words repeatedly to draw a contrast with "Congress ke log (Congress's people)".
"Congress people used to serve terrorists biryani and Modi-ji's Sena (Prime Minister Narendra Modi's army) gives them only golis and golas (bullets and bombs). That's the difference. Congress people use "ji" for terrorists like Masood Azhar but under the leadership of PM Modi, the BJP government is breaking the backs of terrorists by striking their camps,"said Yogi Adityanath, addressing a rally in Ghaziabad.
"What was namumkin (impossible) for the Congress is mumkin (possible) for PM Modi. Because when Modi is there, the impossible becomes possible."
Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Bengal, called it "shocking" that her Uttar Pradesh counterpart had used the words for the army.
"It is shocking to hear the UP CM saying that the Indian Army is the 'Modi Sena'. Such blatant personalization and usurping of our beloved Indian army is an insult and a humiliation," said the Trinamool leader.
Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi attacked Yogi Adityanath for "christening" the Indian army as "Modi's army" and demanded his apology.
"This is an insult to our armed forces. They are India's Armed Forces not the private army of Prachaar Mantri. Adityanath must apologise," the Congress leader tweeted.
She also sought to remind Yogi Adityanath and his BJP that after the hijacking of flight IC814 in 1999, Masood Azhar, then in custody, had been swapped for the safety of passengers held hostage in Kandahar. "If we talk about Masood Azahar, then how can one forge the stellar role of NSA (Ajit) Doval who personally ensured the safe return of the terrorist to terroristan," she asked.
The opposition has often accused the government of trying to exploit the army for electoral gains.
The Pulwama terror attack in which 40 soldiers were killed, and India's subsequent air strike targeting a terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot, have been "politicized" and portrayed as the BJP's achievement, many opposition parties have alleged. Following their complaint, the Election Commission underscored that the army cannot be used in political campaigning.
PM Modi has accused the opposition, especially the Congress, of talking Pakistan's language.