BJP to trumpet success of surgical strikes till UP polls

Mumbai: Some of those who heard Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s speech here on Wednesday must have been reminded of Mark Antony’s funeral oration. Antony had to praise his slain friend Caesar and denounce Brutus, but the popular mood was not receptive. Shakespeare employed his abundant creative skills to fashion the oration treading perilously on razor’s edge. Parrikar had tried something similar.

Parrikar, the unassuming Minister for Defence that we know, has suddenly assumed the role of an extremely clever campaigner spreading a particular message without appearing to be doing so. Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s  Vijaya Dasami salvo against Pakistan declaring  that Ravanas (read terrorists) and their supporters would be dealt without mercy, Parrikar told the indulgent gathering in Mumbai that the credit for the surgical strikes should rightfully go to the military. But he immediately added that the government of the day takes the decision whether to strike or not and it happened to be Modi’s government that took the decision which altered the passive policy of restraint that the governments have been following for three decades. The strikes have changed the perception of India in the eyes of the world. They also made Indians bold while reassuring the people that they are safe in the hands of the Army. He implored the people to credit the PM and the Army for the success. He asked them to cheer the government that takes decisions.

The message delivered by the Defence Minister was rather subtle. He said: “The army did a commendable job and nobody should take credit for it except the Army”. In the same breath, he said that every one of the 127 crore Indians can take credit for the bold way in which the Indian Army acted. The minister was speaking in high spirits as if India had won a major victory in a war against Pakistan. He does not take any credit; but gives entire credit to the bold Prime Minister while praising the Army for its valour. 

It looks Defence Minister Parrikar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP president Amit Shah would continue to trumpet the surgical strikes victory till the elections in Uttar Pradesh are over. Prime Minister would give it a boost now and then with his punches on the face of the opposition in his election campaign. 

They can count on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s faux pas in Hindi and rely on the national media to keep the current mood at least for four months. It is a known fact that the mainstream media would not tolerate anyone who says anything against the government, who questions the surgical strikes or who supports Bollywood superstar Salman Khan for defending the Pakistani artists working in Mumbai. The die is cast. You would be branded a traitor if you question the rhetoric. BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders would not tolerate; the media would not countenance anything unpatriotic; Rahuls, Chidambarams, Nirupams, Kejriwals and the likes should take note: Thus far, no further. You have been warned!

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