Yeddyurappa faces backlash for saying air strikes will pay electoral dividend

The BJP leader had said that the attack will help them win 22 seats in Karnataka

Updated - March 01, 2019 12:16 am IST

Published - February 28, 2019 10:07 pm IST - Bengaluru

B.S. Yeddyurappa

B.S. Yeddyurappa

Former Chief Minister and BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa, facing backlash from the Opposition and some within his party for his statements that India’s air strikes against Pakistan would aid the BJP to garner more seats in the Lok Sabha, sought to backtrack on his remarks on Thursday.

Speaking in Chitradurga, Mr. Yeddyurappa on Wednesday said that the situation at the border would guarantee at least 22 seats in the BJP’s kitty in Karnataka in the Lok Sabha elections. “The recent incident of armed forces attacking Pakistan has turned the situation in Narendra Modi’s favour. The youth of the country are happy after the attack. It will help us win 22 seats in Karnataka,” he had said in a widely circulated video clip.

However, following a barrage of criticism over his electoral calculations, Mr. Yeddyurappa on Thursday said that his statement was “misconstrued” and he had only said that the “situation favoured the BJP”, which he had been saying for a long time.

From within party

This was not before his statement drew wide criticism. BJP leader and Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh tweeted that he would “beg to differ” with Mr. Yeddyurappa on his statement. Safeguarding the nation was “not to win a few extra seats,” he said.

In Karnataka, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy took to Twitter to say that Mr. Yeddyurappa was “busy calculating how many extra LS seats” the situation would bring to his party. “It’s shameful to exploit our jawans’ sacrifice for electoral gains,” he said. Former Chief Minister and coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah, also through a tweet, said that “no patriot shall derive such sadistic gains over soldiers’ death, only an anti-nationalist can.”

Speaking in Hubballi, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao and the Congress’ Karnataka Campaign Committee chairman H.K. Patil demanded an apology from Mr. Yeddyurappa for his remarks. Mr. Rao asked whether our soldiers were fighting with Pakistani forces or the BJP and RSS workers. “The BJP is crossing limits of decency in trying to politicise the whole issue to gain in Parliamentary elections,” he said.

Simha defends BSY

Pratap Simha, MP, however, defended Mr. Yeddyurappa. He said elections were an occasion for the people to make a choice for “courageous leadership” and Mr. Yeddyurappa had made the statement “in the interest of the country.”

After 1971, nobody has “shown the courage” to give the Indian Army an opportunity to cross the border. So, it requires courage and the elections give the people an opportunity to choose such courageous leadership, Mr. Simha claimed.

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