Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said terrorists were lying in wait for a “weak government” in the country, bringing up the Easter blasts in neighbouring Sri Lanka and suggesting to voters that this would happen in India if the BJP were voted out.
“Recently we saw what happened in Sri Lanka. A situation like this existed in India, too, before 2014…. How can we forget the days when every other day there was a terror attack somewhere or the other in the country?” Modi told an election rally in Ayodhya on his first visit to the temple town as Prime Minister.
“In the past five years, news of such blasts has stopped,” he asserted. But the Opposition alliance was aiming to form a “weak government”, he said, and terrorists were waiting for that to make a comeback.
Modi’s comments came on a day a blast triggered by suspected Maoists killed at least 15 policemen and a civilian in Maharashtra.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The PM says since 2014 the sounds of blasts can’t be heard in India. Pulwama... Pathankot.. Uri... Gadchiroli.... and 942 other major bombings since 2014. The PM needs to open his ears and listen.”
On April 21 this year, on Easter Sunday, a series of coordinated blasts had rocked Colombo, killing over 200 people in three churches and three hotels.
Dwijendra Tripathi, Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson, said: “It is foolish to think that the people don’t remember the February 14 Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel. It was the worst terrorist attack in the history of our country.”
The December 2001 Parliament attack, Tripathi reminded, had also taken place when a BJP-led NDA government was at the Centre.
Modi chanted “Jai Shri Ram” as BJP workers blew on conch shells for the first time in the ongoing election campaign, but didn’t visit the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Local sources said around 50,000 people attended the rally — or about a fifth of the ground’s capacity.