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All Issues Important for Lok Sabha Polls But National Security Comes First, Says Prakash Javadekar

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said peace and stability have achieved importance in the aftermath of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack even though the party talked about issues other than national security.

News18.com

Updated:April 1, 2019, 8:37 AM IST
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All Issues Important for Lok Sabha Polls But National Security Comes First, Says Prakash Javadekar
BJP leader Prakash Javadekar at News18 event, Agenda India, on Sunday.

New Delhi: Human Resource Development Minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said although all issues are important for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, “national security and country” come first.

Javadekar, speaking at a News18 Agenda India session, that peace and stability had achieved importance in the aftermath of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack even though the party talked about issues other than national security.

“We talk about development in our speeches. We talk about the crackdown on corruption and we talk about the good work the BJP has done. But why does speaking on the issue of national security prick anyone?” he asked.

At a session titled “Politics over National Security”, Javadekar and Congress leader Manish Tewari argued about the politicisation of the air strikes targeting a terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot in response to the Pulwama attack. Tewari accused the BJP of scoring political points with the strikes. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the result (of the India-Pakistan standoff) could have been different if India had procured Rafale fighter jets on time. Neither he nor his office clarified the comment later,” Tewari said.

Javadekar defended his party and said that the air strikes were a “necessary step” in the interest of the nation.

"In 2008 (after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai), the Indian armed forces had asked the then PM Manmohan Singh for a go-ahead on attacking terror targets in Pakistan, but they did not receive permission. This time when they asked PM Modi, he didn’t waste a second and trusted the armed forces and said do whatever is necessary, we are standing with you. That's the difference now. This was necessary for country, where's the politics in it?" Javadekar said, adding that air strikes were not “rajneeti” (politics), but “rashtraneeti” (tactics).

Javadekar clarified the BJP’s position on the issue of casualties that were cited by several figures in the party in the aftermath of the air strikes. BJP president Amit Shah had claimed that 300-350 terrorists were killed in the attack, although the government is yet to put any official details.

“There are many ways to guess the damage. One way is that the NTRO (National Technical Research Organisation) can tell you how many live cellphones are there in a certain area,” said Javadekar. “Three hundred cellphones were live around the target area in Balakot and they went dead after the attack. That’s one source for the numbers and there may be other sources as well.”

Javadekar claimed that the country is safer and more stable under the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government. He cited terror attacks under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) dispensation as proof that number of terrorist activities had decreased.

“During the UPA, there were two attacks in Mumbai, two in Delhi, one in Varanasi and in Jaipur. There were bomb blasts in every corner of the country. In the last five years, barring Kashmir, there have been no terror attacks in the country. And even the region under the control of Maoists has shrunk to one third of its original size,” he said.

Modi had tried to maintain good relations with Pakistan from the moment he had come to power, but the neighbouring country had regularly committed

“mischief” and India was bound to reply, claimed the minister.

Javadekar, who is the party’s election in-charge for Rajasthan, said that the BJP be elected again with an absolute majority and cross the 300 seat-mark.

“Modiji will be PM again, there is no doubt,” he said.

The seven-phased Lok Sabha elections begin on April 11 and will go on till May 19. The counting of votes is slated for May 23.​

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| Edited by: Moonmoon Ghosh
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