Begusarai: Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday deplored the repeated mention of Balakot air strikes at election rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and questioned the Election Commission’s “reluctance” to take cognisance of it.
The renowned psephologist, who was a founding member of the Aam Aadmi Party and upon expulsion floated a new outfit, Swaraj Abhiyan, was speaking at a meeting convened in support of CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, contesting from Bihar’s Begusarai seat.
“Soon after the Balakot strikes, I had said that any self-respecting nation would like to come up with a response.
So, let there be a response but the government must not try to cash in on it politically and let the opposition not criticise the regime on the matter of national security.
“But, unfortunately, the prime minister himself did not exhibit a sense of propriety,” Yadav said.
He said nobody would have held anything against Modi had he simply told the nation that the armed forces have carried out the operation in Balakot, and “we are proud of that”.
“But he did not stop there. On the day air strikes were carried out, he was addressing a rally in Rajasthan with photographs of the martyrs of Pulwama attack adorning the background of the dais, and Modi proclaiming that the response was by virtue of his being in power.
“It is a dangerous thing to do. The people of the country should understand that whenever there have been attempts to use the valour of armed forces to score political points, the polity has degenerated into military rule. You need to look no farther than Pakistan to understand this trend,” Yadav said.
Criticising the EC, he said it seems to be unmoved at the continuous mention of the Balakot strikes to seek votes.
“Amid all these transgressions, I wonder what the Election Commission is doing…. In rally after rally, Modi is using the Balakot air strikes to seek votes. But, the EC seems to be totally unmoved,” the academician-turned-politician said.
Yadav also alleged that ever since the BJP has been in power, Muslims in the country have been reduced to second class citizens.
“It has already happened, not a possibility in the future. Constitution may have granted them equal rights. But for ordinary citizens, the law is dictated by the local police station. And the attitude of denying them equal rights is there for all to see,” he said.
Citing the contentious citizenship bill, Yadav said it makes no mention of illegal immigration from countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
“Just look at the citizenship bill. It speaks of illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and even far-off Afghanistan. No mention is, however, made of any illegal immigration from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
“And Amit Shah (BJP chief) also proclaims that though the bill seeks to drive out illegal immigrants, no Christian, Buddhist or Sikh would be touched. So who is left? It does not require much to understand that the proposed legislation is aimed at Muslims,” he added.
Dubbing the central government as “a handmaiden of crony capitalism”, Yadav said “attractive things” like doubling of farmers’ incomes is just a rhetoric.
“The previous regimes were not epitomes of socialism.
But, the brazenness that is on display now, is unprecedented,” the Swaraj India chief said.
Turning to renowned lyricist Javed Akhtar, who was among those present, Yadav said he would like to adapt his famous lines from the movie ‘Deewar’ — ‘Mere paas maa hai’ — to describe the present political situation.
“Those in power have everything. They have money.
They, unfortunately, have the media at their beck and call. We just have our votes,” he said.