Analysis: BJP gets shot in arm after Surgical Strike II

Analysis: BJP gets shot in arm after Surgical Strike II

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ( Image courtesy Twitter)

The BJP has now gone to the town publicising the "surgical strike II" against Pakistan on Tuesday as proof of a "strong and decisive leadership" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The party was was under immense pressure from its supporters for some “real action” against terror export from Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack.

Government in its official briefing called it a "non-military pre-emptive action" specifically targeted at a JeM camp after receiving credible intelligence that the JeM was attempting another suicide attack in various parts of the country.

The attack in Pulwama on February 14— months before the next Lok Sabha elections— had come at a worse time for the BJP, which came to power in 2014 slamming the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government for its ‘weak” response to Pakistan on the terror front. 

After the Uri terror strike in 2016, the Modi government had carried out a surgical strike across the Pakistan border but, this didn't stop the incursions or violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pulwama was kind of a shock replay of previous terror attacks with greater casualty, giving the Opposition enough ammunition to train at Modi’s earlier assertions on terror and Pakistan.

As questions had begun raising from different quarters including from the Opposition over Modi's earlier claims on a tough stand against Pakistan and his assertion to root out terrorism after the Pulwama terror strike, BJP chief Amit Shah was quick to stress that Tuesday's action further demonstrates that India is safe and secure under the “strong and decisive leadership of the prime minister”.

Recalling the “New India” coinage by Modi, Shah said that Tuesday’s strong action shows the will and resolve of a New India. “Our New India will not spare any acts of terror and their perpetrators and patrons,” he said.

Addressing a rally in Rajasthan's Churu, Modi was back to his 2014 Lok Sabha poll slogan “Main Desh Nahin Jukhne Doonga” (I won't let the country bow down) as he promised to protect the honour of the nation.

“Saugamndh Mujhe hia Mitti ki, Main Desh Nahin Mitne Doonga, Main Desh Nahin Rookne Doonga, Main Desh Nahin Jhukne Doonga (I pledge on this soil, I will not let the country die, I will not let the country halt, I will not let the country bow down), ” he said.

Party strategist and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sithraman held a special briefing of party spokespersons as the subject is a sensitive one and the party would not like to falter on responses over it.

At the party’s national executive earlier, Jaitley had said that if 2019 Lok Sabha polls is fought on leadership issue and could be projected around the leadership of Modi, nobody can defeat the BJP.

After the terror strike, BJP has tried to project Modi as a strong credible face.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar termed the strike as “maha parakram  and “jabardast parakram” (great valour) of the forces and asserted,  “desh to modi ji par vishwash hai (the country has faith in Modi ji).

Since the Pulwama terror strike, the BJP leadership has been on an assurance making spree about its resolve to avenge it. 

"Have faith in our soldiers deployed on the border, in the Modi government and on Maa Bhawani’s blessings. The scores will be settled this time, settled for good (Iss baar hisaab hoga, hisaab poora hoga),” Modi had said addressing a rally in Tonk last week.

There is a perception in the BJP that with the national narrative kicking in after the action against Pakistan, against whom there is natural anger among people over its decades-long association with promoting terror activities in India, the saffroon party stands to gain politically and even the Opposition will not be able to keep up the attack on it.

Post pulwama candle march and protests happened across the nation and social media was inundated with revenge cries against Pakistan.

With the attack on Jaish-e-Mohammad’s “biggest training camp” being headed by JeM chief Masood Azhar’s brother in-law Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri in Balakot in which a “a very large number of JeM trainers, senior commanders and groups of Jihadis were eliminated,” the second NDA government has also sought to undo the criticism that it often faced for releasing Masood Azhar after Kandhar plane hijack in order to save the lives of 180 people on board in 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee headed the first NDA government at the Centre.

Post Pulwama attack, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu had taken a dig at the BJP reminding it in a veiled reference that it was Vajpayee government which had released Masood Azhar in 1999. The BJP can now say it was Modi government which went for air strike against JeM camp in Pakistan territory, first air strike by India in Pakistan territory after the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

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