“The 2019 polls are no normal elections. It is a fight for sovereignty of India. Keeping in view the enemy states in the neighbourhood and global competition it is imperative that once again a government under Narendra Modi is formed”, Vasghani said informing about the meeting. Prior to that the BJP withdrew support to the PDP-led Jammu & Kashmir government of Mehbooba Mufit on June 19 thus preparing the ground for the electoral offensive. The ruling dispensation’s intent came into open when the BJP’s Twitter handle @BJP4India posted a two minutes 12 seconds long video showing the Prime Minister waging his finger and boasting “Yeh Modi had. Usi Bhasha men jawab dena jaanta hai”.
Satish Misra Telecast of videos of 29 September 2016 surgical strikes across the Line of Control on alleged Pakistan sponsored terrorist bases by some select TC channels on the evening of June 27 was done to prepare the pitch for the coming Lok Sabha elections. It is clear that videos were not part of a sting operation of a TV channel but were leaked either by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office or by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s establishment. The Ministry of Defence has denied it though authenticating videos’ veracity. In utter desperation of winning the next general election at any cost, the BJP-RSS electoral strategists have decided to fight the electoral battle on the war cry of Hinduatva and on the narrative of “Unity in peril defend will all your merit” in which country’s Armed Forces are being roped in against their will. Very fact that a debate was sought to be reignited around two years old surgical strike, whose none of the stated and claimed objectives have been achieved, is a clear indication that the BJP’s election campaign for the general elections has begun.
Even while former BJP ministers like Yashwant Sinha demanding a probe to identify culprits responsible for the leak and ArunShourie calling them “farzical” meaning farcical, the opposition decried the move with the Congress accused the BJP of trying to make a political capital of the blood and sacrifices of brave soldiers. The Congress accusation or former BJP ministers could possibly be dismissed as mere rants of disgruntled elements but some events confirm that there is a design behind the leak of videos. On June 25, there was a meeting in Ahmedabad that was attended by BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers PurshottamRuepla and Mansukh Mandavia, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, two RSS leaders- Yashwant Chaudhary and Gujarat PrantPracharakChintnUpadhyaybesides the state party chief JituVaghani.
It was a closed-door conclave to discuss the coming elections. “The 2019 polls are no normal elections. It is a fight for sovereignty of India. Keeping in view the enemy states in the neighbourhood and global competition it is imperative that once again a government under Narendra Modi is formed”, Vasghani said informing about the meeting. Prior to that the BJP withdrew support to the PDP-led Jammu & Kashmir government of Mehbooba Mufit on June 19 thus preparing the ground for the electoral offensive. The ruling dispensation’s intent came into open when the BJP’s Twitter handle @BJP4India posted a two minutes 12 seconds long video showing the Prime Minister waging his finger and boasting “Yeh Modi had. Usi Bhasha men jawab dena jaanta hai”. The video begins from a shot of Uri Army camp where 18 sleeping soldiers of Indian Army were killed in tents by Pakistani terrorists on a September day in 2016. The video has been prepared from clips that include shots taken in London on April 18 during a conversation between Modi and Prasson Joshi before the Indian diaspora. Modi had defended the surgical strikes saying that he knows how to respond to the killings of country’s soldiers. “Surgical strikes was a stern message of India’s zero tolerance against terrorism under Modi government.
But some people raised unwarranted questions on it. Today the world has seen how our security forces destroyed those terror launch pads in an unprecedented retaliatory action”, the BJP’s Twitter handle said after leaked videos were runon some TV channels. Sequence of events leave no doubt that surgical strikes are one of the most significant part of the exercise of the image rebuilding of the Prime Minister. His development (Vikas) plank, dreams of smart cities, bullet trains, promise of Rs 15 lakh to accounts of every citizen and higher living standards have eroded his credibility and acceptability among the electorate. There is an urgent need for projecting him as the defender of unity and integrity of the country against inimical forces that include Pakistan, anti-national opposition and Muslims. It is a fact that surgical strikes of 2016 have not stopped terrorist attacks from across the border, Tensions between India and Pakistan has rather gone up since. Indian Armed Forces have come under media glare as such operations across the world are kept under wraps for fear of bringing strategy and tactics into open.
Immediately after the operation, there was a debate whether the government should produce the evidence before the public. Core issue was should video of the operation be released or not? Former Army Cheif Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who was the Chief of the Army Staff then, was not in favour but Lt Gen D S Hooda who was heading the northern command and had monitored the operation, was of the view that airing of the videos was proper. The issue remained undecided then and the Army had handed over the video graphed material to the Government. Opinion on the issue is sharply divided in the Armed forces and the Government by releasing videos for reaping political dividends has further deepened these divisions. Process of politicization of the unfirmed forces has moved ahead. World over politicization of Armed forces have had serious consequences. In most the countries where it has happened, democracies have either weakened or turned into dictatorships. Pakistan is a classic example of the same political disease. Bangladesh is still struggling to come out of it. If continued and not stopped, India cannot be far behind Turkey or Pakistan.
–Dr. Satish Misra is a Veteran Journalist & Research Associate with Observer Research Foundation