At a time when the national security tops the themes in BJP’s manifesto and poll campaigning in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has come out with its claim of six surgical strikes being carried out during the erstwhile regimes of UPA-I and UPA-II.
Addressing a press conference, senior Congress leader Rajiv Shukla elucidated the details of the ‘surgical strikes’. He said while six were carried out during the UPA regime, two more carried out during the tenure of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"We never did chest thumping. The one who did only one surgical strike is patting his back. Neither Dr Manmohan Singh nor Vajpayee did a press conference on it," Shukla said.
Shukla listed out the six ‘surgical strikes’ carried out during the UPA regime:
June 19, 2008 – Bhattal Sector in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch
August 30-September 1, 2011 – Sharda Sector, across Neelam River Valley in Kel
January 6, 2013 – Sawan Patra Checkpost
July 27-28, 2013 – Nazapir Sector
August 6, 2013 – Neelam Valley
January 14, 2014
Shukla further said that two surgical strikes were carried out during Vajpayee's regime: first on January 21, 2000 at Nadala Enclave across the Neelam River and second on September 18, 2003 at Baroh Sector in Poonch.
The Congress has been accusing the Narendra Modi government of leveraging the September 2016 surgical strikes and the airstrikes in Balakot across the Line of Control as “political fodder” to garner votes.
It listed similar multiple strikes carried out over last two decades to assert that such action was not the first of its kind though they were not "politicised" earlier.