Sending a strong message across the border amid continuing truce violations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “times have changed” and Indian soldiers have given a demonstration of their capability and their bravery.
Addressing an election rally in Baramati, the turf of Nationalist Congress Party chief and former union minister Sharad Pawar, Modi also said that it is wrong to politicize the tensions on the border.
His comments came even as five people were injured in overnight shelling by Pakistan Rangers on the international border in Jammu and Kashmir. The firing from the Pakistani side has left seven civilians dead so far.
Taking pot shots at opposition criticism of his addressing election rallies, Modi said: “I am surprised that people saying there is tension on the border and Modi is in Maharashtra.”
“This is Shivaji’s land and permeated with bravery,” he said to loud cheers.
He said when Pawar was defence minister (in the early 1990s) “then too China and Pakistan did not stop their attacks” and asked if had gone to the border.
Modi said during times of attrition on the border, the statements of politicians are immaterial. For it is a time when “the bullets of soldiers fly and the screams of the enemy is audible. I congratulate the soldiers that they have given a demonstration of their capability”.
“Now old habits are of no use, the soldiers have given an introduction of their bravery, and they (enemy) have come to realize that the times have changed; and old times and habits have changed. Our brave soldiers have given the correct reply, and these matters should not be politicized,” the prime minister said.
He said the Bharatiya Janata Party had never politicized the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. “It is a measure of our nationalism,” he said.
Modi also criticised 15 years of the Congress-NCP rule in Maharashtra, saying it has ruined two generations of the state’s people.
Referring to the voting day of Oct 15, he said it will bring “independence” to people of the state from bad governance.
Comparing the voting day to Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March, Modi said: “Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 during his Dandi Yatra picked up a fistful of salt that shook the entire British empire.
“I am seeing a similar movement on Oct 15, when a fist will not be required; just your one finger will give Baramati freedom when you put your finger on the BJP symbol (voting),” he said to loud cheers.