Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Monday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of creating a “fear psychosis” under the guise of national security to prepare for another Balakot-like strike in desperation to win the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
“In its desperation to win this election, seems like misappropriation of our jawans sacrifices & polarising the electorate hasn’t helped BJP. Now they are creating fear psychosis by using national security as a guise to prepare ground for another Balakot-like strike,” Mufti said in a tweet.
Mufti’s tweet came in reply to a news report that quoted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi making anti-Pakistan remarks again.
According to a report by News 18, while addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad on Sunday, Modi said: “When they made their second mistake in Pulwama, we entered their home and conducted airstrike,” adding that Pakistan had understood the ‘consequences’ if “it made another mistake”.
The Indian election is being held in seven phases in April and May, as Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP seeks a second term. BJP hopes the government’s recent tough stand against Pakistan will help it retain its popularity despite suffering a setback in December when it lost three key state elections to the opposition Congress party.
In recent weeks, Modi has been able to bolster his nationalist credentials through India’s most serious standoff with Pakistan in years, sparked by a suicide bombing in Indian-occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries.
Twelve days later, the Indian air force bombed what New Delhi said was a training camp of a militant group deep inside Pakistan. Doubts, however, have been raised about what the raid achieved.
Pakistan responded to the violation of its airspace by sending warplanes towards Indian airspace, leading to a dogfight and the downing of two Indian jets. An Indian pilot who was captured by Pakistan was later released as a gesture of peace by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
While Modi and BJP leaders have been projecting the party and its leaders as decisive and tough on national security, opposition parties have accused them of using national security matters to try to influence voters.
Modi, shrugging this off, has continued to talk tough, accusing the opposition of being weak.
“[…] the oppositions have a problem with such stern actions too. But I am going ahead with my resolve to root out terrorism,” he said in his home state of Gujarat.
About 900 million people are eligible to vote in a staggered process that allows the government to deploy tens of thousands of troops to prevent outbreaks of violence and the capture of voting stations by party activists.
The election are to be held on April 11, 18, 23 and 29, and May 6, 12 and 19. The votes will be counted May 23.