Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of prioritising elections over national security, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu questioned why Modi was in Visakhapatnam addressing a BJP gathering instead of receiving Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was released by the Pakistan government on Friday.
Wing Commander Abhinandan was taken into custody by Pakistan on Wednesday after his aircraft was shot down in PoK.
"I would have appreciated if he had stayed back and went to receive Abhinandan, but to criticise me, the other day he came to Guntur and today again he came to Visakhapatnam," Naidu said.
Addressing the BJP workers in Visakhapatnam, Modi alleged that the Opposition was playing into Pakistan's hands by making statements that weakened India. Referring to the Opposition, he said, "I would like to ask such Mahamilawat leaders why are they playing such politics. Pakistan is taking advantage of it. In their blind hatred for Modi, they have started hating the country."
Naidu shot back at Modi's statement, referring to former Karnataka Chief Minister and state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa's comment that India's strikes on Pakistan would help the party secure more than 22 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Taking strong exceptions to the comments likely aimed at the 21 parties which accused the BJP of politicising the crisis, Naidu said, "In Pakistan parliament, people are not talking about us, but Yeddyurappa. Yeddyurappa said that these attacks will help us win 22 seats in Karnataka." After heavy criticism, Yeddyurappa later said that his words had been "reported out of context."
Naidu said that the Opposition party did not make any political statements which may undermine the national security, and that the BJP was busy preparing for the elections on the day Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured. "Home Minister Rajnath Singh was attending public meeting, and you (Modi) were busy selecting candidates. You can talks about politics, but we shouldn't even speak?" Naidu questioned.