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Country worried about the safety of IAF pilot but PM busy strengthening polling booths: Kejriwal


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for interacting with BJP workers through a video-conference, saying when the entire country was worried over the safety of IAF pilot who is in Pakistan's custody, he was busy strengthening polling booths.
The prime minister on Thursday interacted with about one crore BJP workers in 15,000 locations through what the party said was the "world's largest video conference".
Kejriwal had earlier urged Modi to postpone his mega video-conference, saying the nation's energy must be spent on getting the IAF pilot back from Pakistan's custody.
An IAF pilot was captured by Pakistan after an air combat Wednesday during which the two sides said they shot down each other's warplanes that followed an unsuccessful attempt to target Indian military installations in retaliatory strikes that sparked fears of war.
IAF sources identified the pilot as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Speaking in the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal said the entire country was pained by the killing of 41 CRPF personnel in the Pulwama terror attack but the Indian Air Force took revenge by dropping bombs inside Pakistan.
"The capture of our pilot Abhinandan has again pained the country. The entire country is with the government, but the prime minister is busy strengthening his polling booths," the chief minister said.
Pakistan Prime Minster Imran Khan Thursday announced that IAF's captured pilot Abhinandan will be released on Friday as a gesture of peace and the "first step" to open negotiations with India.
BJP MLAs OP Sharma and Manjinder Singh Sirsa were marshalled out by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel for interrupting the chief minister's speech.
"I have got many phone calls. People are saying the prime minister should think about the release of the air force pilot instead of strengthening his booths," he said.
Referring to BJP Karnataka chief B S Yeddyurappa's remark that India's pre-emptive strikes on terror camps in Pakistan has created a wave in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will help the party win over 22 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Kejriwal said,"BJP is counting corpses, shame on such a party."

The chief minister said the country is enraged by what BJP and the prime minister were doing.
Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta objected to the chief minister's charges and later, he along with his party colleague Jagdish Pradhan walked out of the House.
Kejriwal said the AAP government in Delhi was realising the dreams of martyrs. "I hope the solution to the Indo-Pak problem will be found soon," he said.
Earlier, Kejriwal asked the prime minister to postpone his mega video-conference with BJP workers.
"I wud urge the PM to postpone this. At this moment, we as a nation, need to spend all our energies and time to get the IAF pilot back safely andto sternly deal wid Pak (sic)," he wrote on the microblogging site while the sharing BJP's announcement of the programme on Twitter.

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First Published: Feb 28 2019 | 7:40 PM IST

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