Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday referred to Mission Shakti, a day after India shot down a live satellite in space, at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut to assert that he has led a “decisive” government at the Centre in the last five years.
“Zameen ho, aasmaan ho ya phir antariskh, surgical strike ka saahas aapke is chowkidar ne dikhaya hai (This chowkidar has shown the courage to carry out surgical strike, be it on land, in the sky or space),” said PM Modi as he kick-started election campaign in this western Uttar Pradesh district.
PM Modi targeted previous regimes at the Centre saying that the governments in the past believed in slogans instead of “taking right decisions” to ensure safety and security of the nation. “Nation has seen many governments that gave slogans but it has for the first time seen a government that takes prompt decisions,” he said.
The prime minister took a potshot at Congress president Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after they criticised announcement of successful launch of anti-satellite missile on Wednesday.
Gandhi, while taking a dig at PM Modi after he announced success of Mission Shakti in a televised address to the nation, had wished him “Happy Theatre Day”. On the other hand, Banerjee had called PM Modi’s announcement as “limitless drama”.
In his comeback, PM Modi said, “They got confused A-SAT with set used in theatres. Whether we should cry or laugh at their intellect for confusing space mission with theatre.”
He also attacked the Opposition parties for seeking clarification from the government over strike by the Indian Air Force at Balakot in Pakistan. “Do we need sapoot (obedient son) or saboot (evidence),” said PM Modi responding to the Opposition.
The IAF targeted a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp on February 26 in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. The Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.
At his Meerut rally, PM Modi said he will present his government’s report card in the coming days while fixing accountability of the rival parties. “I will give an account of my work but at the same time seek an account from my opponents. Sabka hisab hoga, baari baari se hoga, tabhi to hisab barabar hoga (Everyone will be accounted for, one by one, only then justice will be served),” PM Modi said.
He also targeted the grand-alliance of the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Bahujan Samaj Party formulating an acronym “SaRaB” (picking the initial letters of the three parties) and translating it as liquor. PM Modi said, “Stay away from ‘SaRaB’ in the election for the good health of Uttar Pradesh.”
The BSP, the SP and the RLD have joined hands in Uttar Pradesh to contest 78 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state leaving out the constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi respectively. The grand-alliance presents the biggest challenge to the BJP in the state, where alliance led by the ruling party had won 73 seats.
The prime minister’s public rally was aimed at galvanising the BJP’s support base in the entire western Uttar Pradesh, which votes in the first phase of parliamentary polls.
The BJP has nominated Lok Sabha MP Rajendra Agrawal in Meerut parliamentary constituency. He is a two-time sitting from Meerut. Lok Sabha MPs of Baghpat (Satya Pal Singh), Muzaffarnagar (Sanjeev Baliyan) and Bijnor (Kunwar Bhartendu Singh) also attended the BJP rally in this western Uttar Pradesh district.
Satya Pal Singh is the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development. The sitting MPs of these four constituencies have been re-nominated by the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
The constituencies of Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor will vote in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 11. Uttar Pradesh will vote in all seven phases of the national election that ends on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.