Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati's remark that the Centre could have delayed the surgical strikes to reap political mileage in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls triggered a sharp exchange on Sunday between the ruling BJP and opposition parties which chose to side with the Dalit leader. While BJP accused Mayawati of communalising the UP poll campaign and using caste to gain electoral mileage, Congress said the ruling party at the Centre was trying to use the army's surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across the LoC for its political gain in the poll-bound state.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have thought of taking political ownership of surgical strikes but doing politics over the action harms the country and such politics is not a matter of honour for the army. "Indian army is separate from politics. It will be unfortunate that decisions and actions of army are being used for political mileage," Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said. JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said the valour of Indian Army is pride of the nation and it cannot become the programme of a political party. "Those who are doing it are hurting Indian Army," he said.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said that by raising suspicion on the strikes, the opposition leaders are giving fodder to Pakistan and ISI to run propaganda against India. "The country will not forgive them for this," he said. Another BJP spokesperson, Meenakshi Lekhi, said Mayawati does politics of casteism that comes within communal politics. "BJP does politics of communal harmony, not the politics of communalism or casteism. The people doing such casteist or communal politics should correct themselves rather than raising questions about us," she said.
Addressing a rally in Lucknow on the occasion of party founder Kanshi Ram's 10th death anniversary, Mayawati said a "war hysteria" was being sought to be created by the BJP over the surgical assault, which she said was the right move, but one that came too late. "There is a feeling among people that this (the strikes) could have been delayed for taking political and electoral mileage," she said, adding had the military action been conducted after the Pathankot attack in January, the lives of 19 soldiers in Uri could have been saved.