Accusing the BJP of "milking" the Indian Army's surgical strikes against terrorists in Pakistan-administered Kashmir "for political gains", CPI-M politburo member Mohammad Salim says the "unprecedented politicisation" of the military action by the Narendra Modi government is a diversionary move to cover up its failures."Issues related to defence, particularly military action, traditionally have not been made a political issue, but under this regime, be it union ministers, BJP leaders as well as the Sangh Parivar (RSS) , all have jumped in to portray the strikes as a success of the government. "The country has not seen such politicisation of defence issue," Salim told IANS in an interview.The politicisation of the September 28-29 "surgical strikes" is not just aimed at reaping electoral dividends in states like Uttar Pradesh or Punjab, but is as much to cover up burning issues, including the unrest in Kashmir Valley, said the 58-year-old Lok Sabha member from Raiganj in West Bengal."Unrest in Kashmir has now entered its fourth month. So many people have been killed, others maimed. But there is hardly any talk of that, all thanks to this chest thumping by the BJP.
"From the economic situation to agrarian distress, from the rise of cow vigilantes to price rise, this government has been a complete failure in all respects. And that is why the BJP and its entire propaganda machinery is blatantly politicising a military strike to cover up its failures."And, unfortunately, they have been successful as the political discourse largely has been surrounding the surgical strikes rather than many other important issues," the Marxist leader said."From the top leaders down to the party worker, the BJP has been indulging in a blatant and shameless effort to milk a purely military exploit for political gains."Such is the state of affairs that even when our brave soldiers are facing terror attacks, the defence minister gets busy eulogising the prime minister for the strikes instead of crediting the armed forces and boosting their morale," said Salim referring to Manohar Parrikar, who has been praising Modi for the strikes.
While the BJP has been up in arms against the opposition for demanding proof of the military action, Salim harps on the opposition's right to question."In a democracy, people have the right to raise questions. Debate and dissent are the essence of a democracy. This government has taken political ownership of a military action; so why are they so perturbed when the opposition is questioning their claims?"This government has no answers to questions being raised on burning issues. So they are trying to shut up people by calling them anti-national," the communist leader said.Talking about Tripura, where the CPI-M-led Left Front has been in power since 1993, Salim exuded confidence of the coalition retaining power and dismissed the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress as irrelevant.Looking to expand its base outside West Bengal, the Trinamool has set its eyes on the Marxist bastion of Tripura where it has emerged as the principal opposition party after six dissident Congress MLAs joined its ranks.
"The people of Tripura have witnessed the kind anarchy that the Trinamool has unleashed in Bengal and they will not make a mistake of trusting a party which symbolises corruption and doesn't believe in democracy," Salim asserted.After retaining power in West Bengal with a thumping majority, the Trinamool has virtually taken over almost all the opposition-controlled municipalities and panchayats in the state, courtesy a steady stream of opposition members joining its ranks.But Salim was unwilling to admit the organisational deficiency behind the desertions."It will be wrong to attribute our organisational deficiency behind the desertions. The people who have joined Trinamool have not done it voluntarily; rather they have been compelled. Many of them have joined fearing for their life," he said, accusing the Trinamool of using violence and the administration as an intimidatory tool to "eliminate" the opposition in Bengal.