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Can elections be won by politicising Army actions?


New Delhi, May 11: Whatever the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls be, the 2019 elections would always be remembered for the politicisation of Armed forces and Pakistan bashing taking a centre stage in poll narrative than the real issues that the people are facing.

The lesser the military operations are spoken and debated openly, the better it is. Matters concerning national security are better left to those who are experts in the field. First the Congress accused the BJP of politicising the Balakot Strikes, but then as the final phases of elections approached, the grand old party came out with a grand claim that six surgical strikes were carried out during their time. So, now both the national parties are guilty of dragging the Army into political slugfest and all that we can hope now is that it does not set a trend.

Can elections be won by politicising Army actions?

Amid all this the phrase 'Surgical Strikes' it self is contentious. Military veterans feel that this phrase was coined only recently and the most apalling aspect of the whole thing is that cross border operations have been happening for a long time. To project it as if this was the first time ever it happened is demeaning to the forces.

No data on surgical strikes before 2016: Army refutes Congress claim

"There is no such word as surgical strike. It is a newly coined term and it doesn't mean anything. This can become a reason for him (Modi) to lose rather than win. It is not something that you fight an election on. You carry out one surgical strike and it is so demeaning that you go 3 kms into enemy territory and then you want to fight an election on that. It is so demeaning for the country and the forces," Col (Retd) Jaibans Singh, a strategic matters expert, told OneIndia.

Can Modi win elections with 'Surgical Strike' and Balakot narrative?

National security has become a major poll issue in the run-up to the elections against the backdrop of the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strike, but then can it win elections?

"Indira Gandhi won 1971 war but lost the election. Vajpayee won the Kargil war and lost the election. Churchill won the second world war and lost the election. Winning wars and military operations do not win elections. Modi should hace been adviced on this. He has been badly advised on this subject," Col Singh said.

True or false: Were surgical strikes carried out under the UPA

Instead of discussing the real issues, the main focus seems to be on the functioning of a professional organisation about which we have no knowledge, he said.

"If PM Modi had a more sophisticated campaign on emotional issues, he would have won hands down. You come to a place like Haryana, a place like Punjab and say you will do surgical strikes, people will say its not your son who will die in these strikes. It is our children who are going to die. If there is a war, Punjab and other bordering states that would suffer. Such states want peace, they will be ruined if there is war. They do not want mindless war with Pakistan," the Colonel said.

There are many dangers of politicising the military which is one institution that is or was allowed to remain outside the political structure. In fact even the police should remain outside the reach of politics if the law enforcement has to be truly impartial and effective. But, we have seen the state of police in the country, the politicians have not only sullied the image of cops but made police means to further their own selfish motives. Now the military finds itself drawn into the vortex of politics and is now visibly struggling to remain out of.

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