Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said he had not “backed (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s hardline stand”, but had always taken a hardline stand against terrorism and threats to India’s security, as propounded by every government at the Centre since 1947.

The CM asserted that there was no “Modi hardline” stand to be emulated or backed, as sought to be projected by a TV channel, but “a national hardline” stand that the Congress had always taken against Pakistan’s attempt to foment terror and unleash war on Indian soil.

Nowhere in his interview with the said channel had he said he was a supporter of “Modi’s hardline” or stands with NDA against terror, said Amarinder in a statement soon after the telecast of the TV interview in which he had clearly and vehemently lambasted the Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for trying to take credit for the victory of the defence forces in Balakot.

The interpretation sought by the channel to be given to his statements was ridiculous, said Amarinder in his statement, trashing the suggestion that it was Modi’s and BJP’s hardline stand that he was favouring.

On the contrary, what he had said in his interview while taking strong exception to the BJP’s claims was “The Prime Minister has no business claiming this victory….these kinds of operations have been happening at the Pak border for the last 50 years.”

“Who says this has not been done before? It was done in 1947, 1965, 1971, and during the Kargil operations,” he had further stated, pointing out that the government of the day had taken the decision in the interest of the nation’s security. Just because Modi is in office he can’t go around flexing his muscles for an action of the armed forces, said the CM.

In his interview, Amarinder also demolished the theory that the Congress was favouring talks with Pakistan even though terrorism was still being unleashed from across the border. The Congress had spoken of talks only on the issue of military de-escalation post the Balakot operation, he said, completely delinking the matter from terrorism.

Responding candidly to some tough questions, the CM said withdrawal of AFSPA, as promised in the Congress manifesto, was linked with peace. On the dilution of the Sedition Law, he backed the Congress manifesto promise saying there was any number of laws already available in the country to deal with such situations. “We have to de-escalate somewhere,” as he put it.

On the so-called denial of ticket for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to fight against Modi from Varanasi, the CM said she already had a load of responsibilities, which she could not do justice to if she chose to enter the electoral fray. There was plenty of time still for Priyanka, who had just entered active politics, he said, describing her as an intelligent and perceptive lady.