Manoj Tiwari, the chief of the Delhi BJP, came under fire from the opposition parties on Sunday, a day after he participated in a party rally wearing military fatigues.

Opposition leaders accused the 48-year-old MP from North East Delhi of trying to “shamelessly” using the sacrifice of the jawans and politicising the capture of the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O’Brien, who was among the first to criticise Tiwari, said that the BJP MP insulted the jawans by “seeking votes” while wearing military fatigues.

“Shameless. Shameless. Shameless. Manoj Tewari BJP MP and Delhi President wearing Armed Forces uniform and seeking votes. BJP-Modi-Shah insulting and politicising our jawans. And then giving lectures on patriotism. Low life,” he wrote in a tweet.

 

Omar Abdullah of National Conference (NC) took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders over Tiwari’s act.

“And senior BJP leaders including the Hon PM want to lecture the opposition about politicising the recent military action. Go figure!” he tweeted along with a photo of Tiwari at the rally.

 

(Photo: Twitter/OmarAbdullah)

 

On Saturday, Tiwari flagged off BJP’s ‘Vijay Sankalp Bike Rally’ in Yamuna Vihar in his Lok Sabha constituency. He was seen wearing military fatigues. Reports say that he also recited a poem about Wing Commander Varthaman at the rally.

He posted photos and videos of him on Twitter addressing the rally.

 

 

Responding to the criticism, Tiwari said on Monday that he respects the forces and often wears armed forces caps and t-shirts.

“From time to time, I wear armed forces caps, t-shirts, I feel proud to wear it. To respect the armed forces is patriotism. The people of the country are proud to wear it,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

In a tweet posted late on Sunday, Tiwari countered those criticising him by asking if it will be deemed an insult to Jawaharlal Nehru if he wears a Nehru jacket.

“I wore simply because I felt proud of my Army. I am not in Indian army but I was expressing my feeling of solidarity. Why should it be treated like an insult? I have the highest regard for our Army By logic tomorrow If I wear a Nehru Jacket will it be an insult to Jawaharlal Nehru?” he tweeted.

BJP’s Vijay Sankalp bike rally is the party’s national campaign to galvanise support for the Lok Sabha elections. While party chief Amit Shah launched the rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Umaria, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman flagged it off in Delhi.