Even if it is accepted that all is “fair” in love and election season, the home minister stretches credulity when he equates the tactical airstrike at Balakot with the 1971 war.

Without entering into the disputed area of exploiting military successes for electoral advantage, it is highly unlikely that the already-irked veterans community will be enthused by Mr Rajnath Singh’s contention that if Indira Gandhi could be credited with the liberation of Bangladesh why should Mr Narendra Modi not be lauded for the aerial attack on the Jaish terror camp across the Line of Control?

This is a comparison between apples and oranges and bears no connection with the realities of the two situations. After all, in pure military/diplomatic terms, the manner in which Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee prosecuted the Kargil War won him international appreciation, while repeated questions have been raised over Balakot even outside the country.

A new nation was born in 1971, Pakistan was bisected; terrorism continues after the surgical strikes and Balakot. In short, the professionals in the armed forces would be highly embarrassed by the comparison. And it remains a moot point if the home minister impressed even the gathering at the election rally he was addressing ~ some of the voters might have been insulted at the attempt to take them for a ride.

Can people be so easily fooled? Is the BJP hurting so much after military veterans protested against attempts to drag them into the political bog that it is harking back to 1971 to cite decisive action against Pakistan? Mr Rajnath Singh’s stewardship of the home ministry has not been too successful, when considered against the priorities that existed in 2014.

The situation in J&K has shown little improvement despite his repeated claims that the back of militancy has been broken. So too on the LWE front ~ even during election season the Maoists have struck hard enough to reaffirm their presence.

The overall law and order situation has shown small improvement ~ the oft-repeated claims that the police function under state governments has only token value ~ as proven by how Delhi (under North Block’s direct control) remains unsafe. Drafting the controversial sadhvi into the electioral combat- zone is yet another sign that the stress on vikas has been abandoned.

So it is back to the “military card” ~ and in that dimension the NDA could find no more powerful trump than Indira Gandhi and 1971. This is not a comparison that reflects well on either the man made who made it or his party.