The Congress party on Thursday criticised the “misplaced priorities” of the Narendra Modi government in the wake of the terror attack in Pulwama last week, and claimed that for the prime minister, the “lust for power holds more importance than soldiers”. The party claimed that Modi was busy shooting for a film till hours after the attack on February 14.

Forty personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed in the attack.

“When the entire country was mourning the deaths of the jawans, Prime Minister Modi was shooting for a film at Corbett National Park and indulging in a boat ride to look at crocodiles,” the Congress said. “This film shooting went on till 6.30 pm that day. He had tea and snacks at 6.45 pm. It is horrific that till four hours after such an attack, Modi was busy with his own branding, photoshoot and snacks.”

The Congress said it was “even more painful” that the government did not declare a period of national mourning, which would have led to the cancellation of all the “political rallies and inaugurations held by Modi on government costs”. “Moreover, he reached Palam airport in Delhi to pay tributes to the jawans an hour late because he was busy with his politics in Jhansi,” the party said, referring to an event Modi addressed in the city on February 15.

At the event in Jhansi, Modi had urged people to vote for his Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and ensure a strong government at the Centre. The pitch came hours after the BJP said it was cancelling all political events in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

The government is neither giving a political response nor exercising its responsibility, the Congress said, also criticising Modi’s departure for a trip to South Korea in the current situation.

The Congress listed five questions for the government – about the denial of air transit for the jawans, a possible intelligence breach and action taken against agencies at fault, the ability of the terrorists to carry such a huge amount of explosives, about the alleged oversight of an intelligence input, and how the terrorists managed to attack the CRPF convoy.

‘Congress is trying to weaken morale of the Army’: BJP

Hitting out at the Congress, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Opposition party was trying to weaken the morale of the country and that of the armed forces. “When the whole country is one, when country after country is passing resolutions condemning Pulwama attack and standing firmly with India, at that critical moment, the true face of Congress party has appeared, seeking to weaken the morale of the country,” he said.

Calling these statements “shameful”, Prasad said Modi was at the Ramnagar forest in Uttarakhand that day for an official programme related to the conservation of tigers. “Congress may have known that the Pulwama attack was going to happen, we did not know,” he said.