Nationalism and martyrdom of soldiers are as much an election issue as the death of farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, rejecting allegations that he was using the defence forces in his campaign speeches for winning the polls. In an interview to national broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi said the country is suffering because of terrorism for the last 40 years and there is no reason for people not being told about this.
"If we don't tell them what our views are on this, then what is the logic in that? ...Can any country move ahead without the feeling of nationalism," he said.
"In a country where thousands of its soldiers have been martyred, shouldn't that be an election issue? If farmers die, then it is an election issue, but when soldiers die then it is not an election issue? How can that be?" the prime minister added.
Last week, Modi asked first-time voters to dedicate their votes to those who carried out the air strike in Pakistan's Balakot. He also also urged to dedicate their first votes to the security personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack.
The comments created political furore with opposition parties accusing the prime minister of using the defence forces for winning the polls. The poll panel took notice and the remarks are currently under examination. The poll authorities in Maharashtra's Latur, where he made the speech, have told the Election Commission that prima facie the comments are violative of its orders, asking parties against using the armed forces in their campaigns.
Modi in his interview also took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, alleging that he was raking up the Rafale issue to wash the sins of his father.
"He has made the Rafale issue to wash the sins of his father. For the past six months, he has been making it an issue without any proof," he said.
Modi further said in the past five years his government has addressed the basic requirements of the people that should have been fulfilled within the first ten to twenty years of Independence.
He said his comments against the Gandhi family was against dynastic politics and his opposition was issue-based and not personal.
"Dynastic politics is the most dangerous thing for a democracy," he said.
Commenting on the Congress's 'NYAY' or minimum income promise, Modi said with the announcement of the scheme, the Congress has accepted that they have done "great injustice" to the people for the past 60 years.
"Will they give nyay (justice)?," he asked, referring to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Talking about BJP's chances in the ongoing elections, Modi said there is an "unprecedented wave of support" for his party.
"I have not seen this even in 2014," he said.