Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote to the Election Commission on Sunday, demanding action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks about the Balakot airstrike.
In an interview to a news channel on Saturday, Modi claimed to have given the Indian Air Force the green signal to proceed with airstrikes in Pakistan’s Balakot area on February 26 despite bad weather because “the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars”.
Yechury alleged that the prime minister’s comment violated the Model Code of Conduct in place during the Lok Sabha elections. “The Commission’s recent decisions on BJP leader and outgoing Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for such violations are widely perceived as though he is being treated to be outside the purview of the Model Code of Conduct and guidelines,” the CPI(M) leader added.
Yechury accusedd Modi of revealing the operational details of a sensitive military mission and violating the guidelines reissued by the Election Commission that “made it clear that the armed forces cannot be a subject for hyperbolic and false claims by any party for garnering votes”.
The CPI(M) general secretary said the prime minister appeared to be violating the poll panel’s rules with “impunity with damaging consequences for our democracy”, and urged the commission to note that Modi claimed to have “killed the terrorists [himself] not our armed forces”.
Yechury alleged that the poll panel “seems to think that Shri Modi and Shri Amit Shah are above the electoral process and the Model code of conduct does not apply to them”.
The prime minister has been mocked by Opposition leaders for Saturday’s interview in which he claimed to have used his “raw wisdom” to dispel the doubts of defence experts planning the Balakot mission. “I am surprised that the country’s pundits who abuse me never figured this out,” he added.
However, as many experts have noted on social media, Modi’s observation has no scientific basis. Radar technology uses radio waves to detect objects that may be obscured by fog. So, the clouds over region on Balakot would not have given Indian fighter jets any advantage
The airstrikes – described by the Indian government as a “non-military preemptive action” – were conducted on February 26, 12 days after a terror attack in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir killed 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force. The Jaish-e-Mohammed group, whose leaders are based in Pakistan, had claimed responsibility for the attack.
India had claimed that the strikes had resulted in the deaths of “a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis”. However, according to Pakistan, India’s bombs only hit a few trees near the Jaish camp. International journalists and experts have also refuted India’s claims, although Modi and the BJP have doggedly used the Balakot airstrike in the campaign for the general elections.