Singhvi accuses BJP of using air strike for political gains, demands details of attack

Jodhpur: Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Sunday accused the BJP of using the last month’s air strike for its own electoral benefits while asking the party to reveal the details of the exact number of terrorists killed.

“A few days ago, Amit Shah said 250 terrorists. VK Singh said Amit Shah was making an estimate. IAF head is saying we cannot give an estimate. Radha Mohan Singh said 400. Rajnath Singh said we know, but will let you know later. Nirmala Sitharaman avoids it (casualties of terrorists). Am I saying all this? If you continue to do this and disrespect our country’s armed forces, questions will definitely be raised. The government should tell us exactly about it,” Singhvi told reporters here.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out air strikes at Jaish-e-Mohammad’s (JeM) largest training camp at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province during the early morning hours on February 26 in retaliation of JeM’s debilitating attack on CRPF convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district in which as many as 40 jawans were killed.

Hours after the air raid, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had told the media that the IAF fighters hit the largest terror training camp of JeM in Balakot and “a large number of terrorists, trainers, and senior commanders of the terror group were eliminated” in the air strike.

Several Congress leaders have been raising questions over the source of Shah’s claim of 250 terrorists having been killed in the air strike.

On March 4, IAF chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in a press conference had said that fighter pilots had hit the target given to them, adding that he could not give the number of casualties as it is for the government to clarify.

Asserting that the Congress did not do politics over the air raid, Singhvi said: “The BJP is using the air strike for political gains. The Election Commission has put a stop on this.”

Pre-empting that the BJP will break the rule and go ahead with electioneering over the issue, Singhvi said, “They are an expert in this. They will definitely go ahead and violate the advisory.
But, Congress has not done politics over the air strike.”

On Saturday, the Election Commission has asked all political parties and their candidates to avoid displaying photographs of defence personnel on posters used during pre-poll campaigning and for propaganda purpose in connection with the impending General elections.

The poll body also advised parties to “exercise great caution” while making any reference to the Armed Forces in their political campaigns.