A Congress leader on Saturday questioned the timing of Indian Army’s attack on terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, pointing out they came a day before Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, ANI reported.

“There is a pattern of the surgical strike which takes place whenever there are elections in major states in the country,” Bihar Congress leader Akhilesh Singh told reporters in Patna. “Now, the politics of this country will be done on surgical strikes.”

The former MP alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party wanted to divert people’s attention from “real issues”.

Singh said he came to know about the retaliatory attacks from the media. “And if it is the case, then it is directed towards Maharashtra and Haryana elections,” he alleged.

BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain dismissed the allegation, India Today reported. He said there was “no correlation” between the Army’s actions and elections. “Congress will be decimated both in Haryana and Maharashtra,” he added. “They will be down to single digits.”

The ruling BJP’s campaign in the two states focussed on national security. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in their recent rallies in Haryana, drew the attention of voters to the matter of revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. They claimed the BJP government had accomplished what previous governments had failed to do in 70 years.

Indian Air Force jets had last struck a terrorist camp in Pakistan on February 26 in retaliation against the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Pulwama on February 14. It became a major poll topic in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections in April and May.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi backed the Army’s actions. “Another spectacular campaign by the mighty Indian Army against terrorist camps across the border,” he tweeted. “We are proud of your valour and courage.”

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said three terrorist camps were destroyed in retaliation after two soldiers and a civilian were killed in ceasefire violation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district earlier in the day. The launch pads in Neelam Valley opposite the Tangdhar sector of Kupwara reportedly belonged to militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

However, Pakistan denied the Indian Army’s claim. The country’s Armed Forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor also criticised the Indian media. “Get access to IOJ&K and have moral courage to cover damages caused by Pakistan Army,” Ghafoor tweeted. “All your previous claims met their fate so shall this one. Follow journalistic ethos of Pakistan media for reporting with responsibility.”

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