Mandi: BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today landed in a controversy when he invoked invoked a Kargil martyr’s slogan to pitch for 300 seats for NDA, a statement that was disapproved by the soldier’s family and attacked by political rivals.
Addressing rallies in Himachal Pradesh, he spoke of late Capt. Vikram Batra, who was killed in the Kargil conflict, and used a catch phrase associated with him–“Dil maange more” to seek votes for his party.
“A son of this soil of Himachal Captain Vikram Batra had sacrificed his life and he had said ‘Yeh Dil maange more’ (This heart wants more).
“I also say ‘Yeh Dil maange more’. We want all the four Lok Sabha seats from Himachal Pradesh and 300 lotuses from India….’Yeh Dil maange more’,” Modi said.
The late captain had used this phrase when he had led his troops in recapturing a peak in Kargil and had declared that he wanted to do more.
However the BJP leader’s use of the catch phrase did not go well with Batra’s family. Batra’s father G L Batra said the martyr’s name should not be politicised.
“At this moment doing politics over the name of Vikram Batra ji, I don’t think, is good. He was a brave son of the country who sacrificed for the nation. Now if they are remembering, doing politics over it, I think it does not behove,” G L Batra said.
He also asked why the BJP was not withdrawing its candidate against his wife Kamal Kanta, who is contesting on AAP ticket in Hamirpur, if it has respect for Batra.
The martyr’s mother said even if she used his name then there could be justification because he was her son and he died for the country.
The Congress also attacked Modi saying that martyr’s name should not be used for “petty political purposes.”
“I think it has become Shri Modi’s habit to denigrate everybody including memories of a martyr,” he said adding that Batra’s father had come forward and say that he does not appreciate such comments.
“Irrespective of differences in politics, martyrs belong to the whole nation and Mr Modi should learn to respect martyrs and not use everything for his petty political purposes,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
The BJP, however, defended Modi saying the catch phrase was not a “private property” of anyone.
“Now “Dil Maange More” is in martyr’s memory, not in his mother’s memory. Martyrs’ words are to be respected and can be owned by anyone. It does not become the private property of a family.
“I am sorry for using harsh words Mrs Batra… but election has to be fought on performance,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said rejecting the charge that Modi used the catch phrase for political gains.
“These words are also slogan of a company,” she said in an apparent reference to a soft drink ad campaign.
On Batra’s mother asking BJP to withdraw its candidate against the martyr’s mother, who is contesting as an AAP candidate in Hamirpur, BJP Spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said she should have the joined the BJP before contesting against Anurag Thakur.
The AAP also joined the attack in Modi.
“I am stunned and aghast to see Modi’s statement and BJP reaction on an issue like this. If you cannot respect the martyrdom of someone like Vikram Batra then don’t make fun of him.
“The way Modi and BJP has behaved is very shameful. They claim to be nationalist and patriotic. Such fake nationalism and patriotism should be rejected. Is this the way to treat the martyrs? asked AAP leader Ashutosh.