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‘Welcome, Uri Avengers’ Say Posters Featuring PM Modi In Lucknow

LUCKNOW: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cautioning against “chest-thumping” over the surgical strikes across the Line of Control has been upended in Uttar Pradesh. At the large public ground in Lucknow, where PM Modi, in a deviation from tradition, will spend Dusshera, posters feature him along with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and local BJP leaders. “Lucknow welcomes the avengers of Uri,” the hoardings declare, backing the assessment that the cross-border strikes in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir were in retaliation for the 19 soldiers killed in September’s terror attack at the army camp in Uri. The BJP says it has no connect to the “activists” who put up the hoardings. In recent years, it has been uncommon for a Prime Minister to preside over the Ram Lila or retelling of the epic battle between good and evil in the Ramayana in a city other than Delhi. The BJP has denied that the PM’s itinerary is linked to the fact that Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, votes soon. “It’s a purely apolitical programme, don’t add politics to it,” said Dinesh Sharma, the BJP vice president, making no impression on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. “If there were elections in Bihar, he (the PM) would have gone there,” he said wryly. “This Vijaya Dashami will be very special,” the PM said over the weekend, while talking of the country’s need for and reliance on “a highly capable army.” Virtually all opposition parties have united to accuse the BJP of trying to appropriate the surgical strikes, which targeted gathering areas for terrorists. BJP chief Amit Shah has denied charges of mining the army’s action and a matter of national security for political expediency, but has said that the strikes will be part of the party’s campaign in UP.

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