Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday asked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Delhi to be on be on an “offensive” rather than being “defensive” when they refer to the Balakot air strike and national security during the election campaign.
Addressing workers at the BJP Delhi unit’s headquarters, Sitharaman said, “After the Balakot air strike, people know that the country is safe hands. Pakistan will never accept the number of terrorists killed in the air strike. We don’t have to focus on the number of terrorists killed .... You shouldn’t be on a defensive while addressing the issues.”
Sitharaman, who is the party in-charge for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, hit out at the previous United Progressive Alliance government for not being proactive in countering terrorism.
She said had the previous government taken proactive measures to counter terrorism, the situation would have been different today.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always talked about a zero tolerance policy against terrorism. Whatever had to be done after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks was not done by the previous government. Had it been more proactive, there would have been more deterrence,” she said.
The Delhi BJP had organised the meeting of all state unit members to plan preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
All seven Members of Parliament from Delhi, Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel, senior BJP leader JS Pawaiya (co-incharge with Sitharaman), Delhi BJP in-charge Shyam Jaju, organisation secretary of Delhi BJP Sidhartan and other senior leaders were present.
The defence minister also hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for attacking the BJP over the release of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar. She said the decision to release Masood Azhar was taken at an all-party meeting to secure the release of 160 passengers.
Sitharaman asked party workers not to be defensive while addressing critical issues and to tell people about the work done by the Modi government.
Addressing the gathering, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari attacked Delhi chief minister Arvind Keirjwal for raising the issue of full statehood just before elections.
“We are in favour of examining the demand for full statehood. But Kejriwal is himself the greatest enemy of full statehood to Delhi. Kejriwal has damaged the cause by trying to stop the January 26 Parade and attacking constitutional institutions. He is raising the issue just before elections.”
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First Published: Mar 15, 2019 09:20 IST