Despite his jam-packed schedule due to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took time out and spoke exclusively to News Nation's Deepak Chaurasia and Peenaz Tyagi. During the 78-minute marathon interview, PM Modi spoke extensively about the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, which was the deadliest in three decades of Kashmir's insurgency. The attack left 40 CRPF personnel dead and dozens injured.
On being asked about the Opposition's questions on the timing of the Balakot airstrike post-Pulwama attack, PM Modi stepped up the attack on rival parties, saying it was their natural habit of questioning the armed forces and blaming the prime minister for every damn thing.
"When I carried out the airstrikes they said why you did it. What can I say on this? Now, they are raising an issue that why now, they question the timing. This is their nature. Even if there is a pothole in Pune, they will blame me!" Modi told News Nation.
Replying to Opposition's dig that where was the "56-inch-chest" post-Pulwama-attack, PM Modi said they had successfully shot down a satellite and this was a huge achievement.
When asked if the Opposition is suffering from Modiphobia in this season of Lok Sabha polls, the prime minister stated, "Well, it is their job to raise voice against the ruling party and they should intensify it. But there is an difference between criticism and allegations. They should attack me with full information and responsibility. Not just for the sake of media attention".
There have been intense arguments between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition over the country's internal security, with several parties accusing the Centre of ignoring the intelligence alert on Pulwama terror attack. Political leaders across party lines questioned the timings of the attack and the IAF's Balakot airstrike that followed, further stoking a controversy that has become a key part of the political narrative of the Lok Sabha Elections.
The intense aerial engagement between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack led to a dramatic escalation of tension in late February. While India shot down an F-16 warplane of Pakistan, the Indian Air Force (IAF) lost a MiG-21 Bison during the fierce engagement between the air forces of the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC).
Pakistan's retaliation came a day after India struck several Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camps in Balakot on February 26 in response to the cowardice Jaish-e-Mohammed attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.