PM Narendra Modi on Friday spoke on a range of key election issues in a high-octane interview with Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
He spoke about the how those in the Opposition questioned their own Prime Minister over the air-strikes against Pakistan-backed terror bases across the LoC by the Indian Air Force and jumped in their haste to praise Pakistan PM Imran Khan for "his statesmanship" for calling for peace and releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
"...there are some people who worship them (Congress), people who survive on their (Congress) bread, they find statesmanship in Pakistan PM's statement. And they want to doubt their own Prime Minister. People of India must identify such people. And this is very unfortunate," he said.
It had been Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who had hailed Pakistan PM Imran Khan for his statesmanship in the immediate aftermath of the announcement that IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan would be released and returned to India following his capture by Pakistan after the events of February 27 when an aerial battle had broken out over the skies of J&K's Nowshera. In the dogfight, the IAF had successfully thwarted Pakistan's attempt to ingress into Indian airspace and attack Indian targets, with Wing Commander Abhinandan shooting down a Pak F-16 before being shot down by ground fire and landing in Pakistan-held territory after ejecting.
Mehbooba Mufti's enthusiasm in praising Imran Khan completely glossed over the relentless and inexorable pressure India had placed on Pakistan via multiple channels, demanding the Wing Commander's release and refusing to deal with Pakistan in the matter.
Mehbooba Mufti was not the only one who made statements that were well received in Pakistan. A number of Opposition leaders' views questioning India's Balakot blitz became fodder for Imran Khan's ministers' attempts to peddle the Pak narrative.