Family of Kargil war hero Vikram Batra objects to use of the slogan

The family of Kargil war hero Captain Vikram Batra has objected to the repeated use of the slogan “Yeh dil maange more [this heart wants more]” by the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi while seeking votes for his party at a rally in Himachal on Tuesday.

The phrase is associated with Captain Vikram Batra, who while leading his troops to recapture a peak in Kargil had declared that he “wanted to do more” for the country.

Mr. G.L. Batra, the father of the martyr, said son's expression should not be politicised and used to garner votes for a party. He wanted to know where Mr. Modi was when his son sacrificed his life for the country. “He never paid us a visit,” Mr. Batra said.

Capt. Vikram Batra belonged to Palampur town. His mother Kamal Kanta Batra is contesting the election as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate from the Hamirpur constituency against Anurag Thakur of the BJP.

“If he is so indebted to the martyrs he must withdraw his party's candidate against my wife,” said Mr. Batra.

Reacting to Mr. Batra’s objection, Mr. Modi asserted that he holds Captain Vikram Batra and his parents in high esteem and would quit politics rather than think about disrespecting such citizens.

“When I went to Kolkata, I remembered Subhas Chandra Bose. When I went to Jhansi, I remembered Rani Laxmi Bai and today when I went to Himachal Pradesh, I remembered the great son of India Vikram Batra. But when I returned to Ahmedabad I got to know how my political rivals have distorted my statement. I was deeply hurt,” Mr. Modi said.

“Vikram Batra is a son of India. Is it a crime to remember a martyr? Their parents have sacrificed a lot and I bow to them. What sort of a political fever is this that does not allow you to remember the martyrs of India,” he added.

Mr Modi, while addressing a rally in Kangra, had invoked Captain Vikram Batra and reiterated the martyr’s slogan “Yeh dil maange more” while seeking a clear mandate in the Lok Sabha election. Speaking fervently he said, “Give us 300 lotuses and we would give you a strong government at the Centre.”

The BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, who addressed three rallies in the hill State, cautioned the people against voting for parties like the Congress which are full of “dhokhebaj" (cheats).” He also called the Congress “ghoshanapatra [manifesto] a complete dhokapatra (fraud document)”.

At a rally in Tehri constituency in Uttarakhand, he said: “There will be many States where the Congress won’t win any seat and Uttarakhand will be one among them. In several other States the Congress will not even win 10 seats.”

“After the elections, this family [the Gandhi family] will become history,” Mr Modi added.

(With additional reporting by Kavita Upadhyay in Dehradun & PTI)