Unlike Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former PM Indira Gandhi never sought votes in the name of Army, said Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief on Wednesday. Pawar was addressing a rally in Balapur, Maharashtra.

“The Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi, campaigned on the issue of national security in the Lok Sabha polls, held earlier this year,” Pawar told the gathering, referring to the Pulwama terror attack.

The Indian Air Force had given a befitting reply to the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack, but PM Modi sought votes in the name of the valour shown by the security forces, he said.

“I remember when India and Pakistan had fought (in 1971). Indira Gandhi was the prime minister then. She not only won the war (for India) and created history but also changed the world’s geography,” the former Union Minister said.

“Pakistan was divided into two parts, leading to the creation of a new country called Bangladesh. But Indira Gandhi never sought votes in the name of the valour shown by the Army,” he added.

Sharad Pawar said that Indira Gandhi was clear in her mind that the entire country had backed the Army during the war against Pakistan in 1971, hence she never politicised the issue.

“The Air Force’s action helped the country after Pulwama. But wherever Modi Saheb went (after the airstrike), he said ‘we did it’. At one place, he had said that ‘ghus ke maroonga’ (will barge in and hit). It is the Army or Air Force that takes the action and these people, sitting in Delhi, will say ‘ghus ke maroonga‘,” Pawar said.

He alleged that the plight of the common people has increased during BJP’s watch.

Criticizing the Devendra Fadnavis’s five years rule in the state, Pawar said that the agrarian crisis has deepened in the past five years. He alleged that the Fadnavis government came in power in 2014 promising to work for the upliftment of the farmers but only 31 per cent farmers benefitted from the government’s farm loan waiver scheme.

Pawar has been the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and also the Union Minister in Government of India. He was earlier with Congress and later formed his own party, National Congress Party in 1999.