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How will Pulwama attack affect Indian politics?


New Delhi, Feb 15: The gruesome suicide attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to affect Indian politics just ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

It is notable that a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) on Thursday rammed explosive laden van into two buses of a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying some 2,500 CRPF personnel on Jammu-Srinagar Highway near Pulwama.

Pulwama attack site

The attack left 40 CRPF personnel dead, which has deteriorated bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government had avenged similar terror attack in Uri with a surgical strike in Pakistani territory in 2016.

After the Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Modi has once again announced that terrorists and their supporter Pakistan will have to pay a heavy price for killing CRPF personnel.

[For Pakistan to have a deniability factor, Jaish recruited local for Pulwama attack]

He has openly announced that security forces have been given a free hand to decide the day, time, place and nature of response to the Pulwama attack.

The JeM suicide bomber attacked just a day after the 16th Lok Sabha conducted it last business day on Wednesday.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Modi government tabled the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report on the controversial Rafale deal in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Its notable that Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders have been mounting a direct attack on Prime Minister Modi over Rafale deal by alleging that the Prime Minister has committed corruption by giving advantage to his friend Anil Ambani.

Since Prime Minister Modi terms himself as a chowkidar (watchman), who protects interests of common Indians; Rahul and Congress party have coined a slogan chowkidar chor hai (watchman is a thief) over Rafale deal.

After the CAG report was tabled, Rahul along with other Opposition leaders protested at the Parliament premises and raised chowkidar chor hai.

[Pulwama: Graded 'C' terrorist, suicide bomber Abdul Dar was never under radar]

On the same day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal organized a rally against Narendra Modi government at New Delhis Jantar-Mantar in which several Left party leaders, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other opposition leaders participated.

Later, these leaders held a meeting at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawars residence in the national capital to unite the opposition against Prime Minister Modi and the BJP for the ensuing General elections.

The other aspect is that the BJP and Modi government have denied the allegations over Rafale deal and accused the Congress and other opposition parties of playing politics over Indias security.

The governments stand has been that the Rafale jets are a must to strengthen Indian Air Force.

Now considering the mood of the nation and simmering tension between India and Pakistan post Pulwama attack, it will not be easy for the Congress and other Opposition parties to raise the Rafale issue because the BJP will use such attacks on itself to its favour.

If India gives reply to Pakistan through its security forces over Pulwama attack, chances of which are high, then also it will not be comfortable for the opposition to question the response as they did after 2016 surgical strike.

The BJP had hailed 2916 surgical strike as an unprecedented strategic manoeuvre, and boasted of being the only party to teach Pakistan a lesson.

Sensing the political advantage BJP could get, the Opposition had questioned the surgical strike.

Kejriwal was first to cleverly question the surgical strike in a short video message. He had saluted Modi and urged him to disprove Pakistan's claims with proof that India did not cross the Line of Control to launch the attack.

After that Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam also demanded proof of surgical strikes at a press conference.

The BJP had used the questioning to paint Congress and other Opposition parties as a lot that were questioning the valour of Indian Army and speaking language that supports Pakistan.

["Please sanitise area properly IEDs will be used," an intel warning that fell on deaf ears]

The Opposition also said that Modi government was not the first one to conduct surgical strike as previous governments had also allowed such strikes across the border but did not use them for political gain as the Modi government was doing.

Politics depends on perception and the opposition also knows that it failed to dent the Modi government over surgical strike.

On Friday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi also addressed a short press conference to condemn Pulwama attack and announced full support to the government.

At the time of filing this report, Congress core group meeting was underway at former Congress President Sonia Gandhis residence over Pulwama attack.

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