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Under Fire for Linking Air Strikes to Lok Sabha Polls, Yeddyurappa Says His Statement Was Misconstrued

The Karnataka BJP chief had on Wednesday said that India's pre-emptive strikes on terror camps in Pakistan would help the BJP win 22 of 28 seats in the state in the coming Lok Sabha elections.


Updated:February 28, 2019, 5:03 PM IST
Under Fire for Linking Air Strikes to Lok Sabha Polls, Yeddyurappa Says His Statement Was Misconstrued
File photo of Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa.

Bengaluru: The critical question that divided the Opposition during the meeting of 21 parties was: ‘How much should one push the BJP over the politicisation of the India-Pakistan standoff?’ The answer has come in the form of former Karnataka BS Yeddyurappa.

On Wednesday, Yeddyurappa said that the air strike, carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) following which a pilot was captured by Pakistan, would aid Prime Minister Narendra Modi and help them win 22 Lok Sabha seats, of the 28 in Karnataka. “The recent incident of armed forces attacking Pakistan has turned the tide in Narendra Modi's favour, as the youth is happy after the attack. It will help us win 22 seats in Karnataka," he said.

Yeddyurappa's remarks drew criticism from political leaders in Karnataka and disapproval from his own party colleague and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh. Congress leaders also took to Twitter to condemn the statement.

Facing flak from all corners, Yeddyurappa on Thursday said his statement was misconstrued and there was no question of seeking electoral gains from the air strike.

"I would like to clarify that my yesterday’s statement has been completely misinterpreted. I have highest regard for our armed forces. I salute the bravery of our men in fighting for the country's safety," Yeddyurappa said in a series of tweets.

In another tweet, he said, "My statement is being reported out of context. I said that 'situation is favourable for BJP' which I have been saying for the last couple of months. This is not first time I said BJP in Karnataka will win a minimum of 22 seats under the able leadership of Modiji."

"I stand along with my fellow countrymen and pray for the safe return of (Wing) Commander Abhinandan Varthaman (IAF pilot in Pakistan's custody). To me, the Nation comes first and then the party," he said.

Speaking to reporters, he said there was no question of using the situation arising out of the IAF strike for electoral gains. Noting that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had informed about the developments at an all-party meeting, he said all political parties, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, have welcomed India's action.

"Where is the question of using it for politics? Whole country has welcomed it. There is no question of using it for political gains," he added.

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