Opposition parties attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday after his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan claimed there would be a better chance of talks with India if the Bharatiya Janata Party returns to power in the Lok Sabha elections.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Pakistan had “officially allied” with Modi following Khan’s remarks. “‘A vote for Modi is a vote for Pakistan’, says Pak PM Imran Khan,” Surjewala tweeted.
Khan had told journalists in an interview that the Congress, if it comes to power, might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir due to fears of a backlash from the right-wing.
Modi has often criticised Opposition leaders for seeking proof of the Balakot air strike, saying such statements helped Pakistan. On Tuesday, the prime minister said that the Congress manifesto speaks for Pakistan when it says that Article 370 will never be scrapped.
“Modi ji, first there was love for Nawaz Sharif and now Imran Khan is your dear friend,” Surjewala said. “The truth is out in the open.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said firecrackers will be burst in Pakistan if Modi wins the Lok Sabha elections. “Why does Pakistan want Modi ji to win?” he asked. “Modi ji should tell the country how deep his relations are with Pakistan.”
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said Khan’s statement endorsed Modi for a second term as prime minister. “So much for Modi sahib telling the country only Pakistan [and] its sympathisers want BJP to lose,” Abdullah tweeted. “How soon before we see a ‘Chowkidar Imran Khan’ Twitter handle?” he asked.
Abdullah said: “Just imagine what all the “Chowkidar” handles would be doing to Rahul Gandhi [and] the Congress right now if Imran Khan had endorsed RG [Rahul Gandhi] as PM in these elections? Who is the “tukde tukde” gang now?”
Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti mocked the BJP, saying “bhakts were wondering if they should praise Imran Khan or not”. She said Modi had “frittered away” the chance to hold dialogue with Pakistan.
“Mufti Sb [Mufti Mohammad Sayeed] too like Pak PM believed that Modi a BJP PM backed by right wing could carry forward process of dialogue initiated by Vajpayee ji,” Mufti said. “Cong [Congress] couldn’t do so as it feared backlash from BJP [and] other right wing parties. But Modi despite a huge mandate frittered away that chance.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said Modi has repeatedly focused on Pakistan in his election campaign and tried to link it to the Opposition. “Now we know who Pakistan actually wants as PM, the only Indian PM to have invited ISI to a military base, and the only one who went to Pakistan uninvited,” he said.
Yechury claimed he had concerns about foreign governments influencing the elections. “Last year, it was reported that ISI wants Modi as PM,” he said. “Now Pakistani PM says it.”