Balakot strike was done for winning LS polls: Farooq

Last Updated 11 March 2019, 14:40 IST

National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday made serious allegations against the BJP-led Centre, saying it ordered the air strike in Pakistan's Balakot with the "sole purpose" of winning Lok Sabha elections.

The Srinagar MP alleged the BJP has "failed" on all fronts and it was apprehended that there would be a fight or skirmish with Pakistan before the polls so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi becomes some kind of an "avatar" without whom India cannot survive.

"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," Abdullah told reporters here.

In a predawn exercise on February 26, the Indian Air Force pounded Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp in Balakot. The air strike came in response to a terrorist attack in Pulwama on February 14, in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.

Abdullah said Monday, "In the Parliament, we knew they have failed on all other things 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. But I want to tell him that whether he or I live or not, India will live and move forward," .

The NC president said an atmosphere of fear was being created to help the BJP in the polls.

"They want to create an atmosphere of fear. There would be no war. The whole world is watching. This government is only using the senior officer for winning the election, the officer whom they got by superseding many others and who is now dancing to their tunes. Otherwise, there is no danger," he said, without naming the "officer".

"This atmosphere of fear that they have created in the country that without him anything will happen, I want to tell him that you were neither a God and never will be," he said.

Abdullah said there is no other way than to talk to Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

"They (New Delhi) have brought this (Kashmir) into international limelight. Several countries are now involved in making India and Pakistan to talk over Kashmir and they will have to engage themselves as it is the only way forward," he said.

Asked about the Election Commission of India's decision to delay the assembly polls in the state, Abdullah said he feared some "mischief" by the Centre in J-K.

"I think they must have thought of doing some mischief, that's why they delayed the polls. I do not understand that when thousands of people took part in the Panchayat and municipal polls, what danger they think there is now when forces are present in larger number than they were. And they are present in every nook and corner of the state," he said.

The NC president said all parties are in favour of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls and now the public should understand what their motive is.

"If we unite, their designs will fail. We should prepare for that..for not giving a chance to the Centre for destruction. So, we all should stand to confront them...Where is the mighty government of India which cannot conduct an election here? If this is not surrender, what is," he said.

He said if the EC is saying that the environment is conducive for Lok Sabha polls, then why is it not conducive for the state polls.

"Then they should not conduct the Parliament polls. I am surprised over what they are saying. They are contradicting themselves. It is unfortunate that our EC has become the election commission of the government. A political EC. There is no independence. I hope there is a new government which gives full independence to the EC," he said.

Asked if his party was thinking of a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, Abdullah said, "We have not yet decided on that. We will see that".

He welcomed the ECI's direction on keeping forces away from electioneering.

"It is good. I have seen in my state that soldiers press the button of machines in far-flung areas and I hope the forces are kept at bay this time and they will only be used for security purposes. This should be a free and fair election," he said.

(Published 11 March 2019, 14:27 IST)

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