In an apparent rebuke to his fellow party leaders, Union Minister VK Singh on Thursday said the armed forces do not belong to an individual but to the nation.

“‘Sena kisi ki nahi hoti hai. Sena sirf desh ki hoti hai. Ismey Modi sena kahan se aa gayi’ (Army does not belong to an individual. Armed forces only belongs to the nation. Where did Modi army come from?)” he said.

His comments came after the controversy triggered over Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s remark calling the Army as ‘Modiji ki sena’.

Naqvi was Wednesday caught on camera referring to the Army as ‘Modiji ki sena’.

At an election rally in Rampur on Wednesday, the footage of which has gone viral on social and electronic media, Naqvi said, “Our missiles, our defence personnel annihilated the terrorists after storming their bastions. This is not an ordinary feat.”

“‘Ab dikkat yeh hui ki Congress party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party sab chilaane lage ki bhai yeh jo Modi ji ne ghus ghus kar, Modiji ki sena ne ghus ghus kar ke aatankwaadiyo ko tabaah kiyaa uskaa saboot to dikhaa do’ (But the problem is that the Congress, SP and BSP started demanding proof of the attack carried out by ‘Modiji ki sena’),” he added.

At a rally in Ghaziabad earlier on Sunday, Adityanath referred to the Indian Army as “Modi ji ki sena”, which triggered a political storm with sharp reactions from the opposition.

“Congress leaders would feed biryani to terrorists, while Modi’s army gives them bullets and bombs,’ he had said.

Former Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas (retired) on Monday said he will approach the Election Commission against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The remarks have also not gone down well with the military, with sources indicating that it was “upset”.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has issued a notice to the UP CM over his remarks and asked him to file a reply by April 5.

The Election Commission had sought a report from the Ghaziabad district administration on Adityanath’s comments so that it can be checked whether there was any violation of Model Code of Conduct as it has already asked political parties to “desist” during their Lok Sabha poll campaigns from indulging in any propaganda involving defence forces.

Adityanath’s remark has created a political firestorm with the opposition leaders attacking the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister for “insulting and humiliating” the armed forces.