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National security likely to be major poll issue in Himachal

Press Trust of India  |  Shimla 

National security can become a major issue in the upcoming in Himachal Pradesh, where a good number of voters are either ex-servicemen or currently serving in the security forces.

Most of these personnel can hold sway in at least three out of the state's four Lok Sabha seats -- Kangra, Hamirpur and

The ruling is raising the issue of the surgical and airstrikes carried out by the in its public meetings, while the is reminding the public how a new country, Bangladesh, had been carved out of in 1971 during the

claimed that the nation was "fully secure" in Narendra Modi's hands.

"When Modi became the prime minister, several of our jawans were killed in Uri. The successfully carried out a surgical strike in retaliation under Modi's strong leadership," Thakur said at a public meeting in his home district of on Friday.

"Forty jawans of the CRPF were martyred in the Pulwama attack. Tilak Raj of Kangra was among the martyrs... Our carried out air strikes within days and destroyed terrorist camps in Pakistan," the BJP said.

The also blamed the previous government of "doing nothing" after the terror attack in 2008.

Taking a strong exception, said should not be played in the name of the slain soldiers.

Agnihotri said Congress had already made it clear that the party was fully with the government regarding the retaliation to the Pulwama attack.

"National security always remains a top priority for the Congress. The BJP leaders should not forget how a new country had come into existence in 1971 when the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government was at the Centre," he added.

Meanwhile, (retired) Khushal Thakur, who was the of the 18 Grenadiers that captured the strategic peaks during the Kargil conflict, said the defence forces were discharging their duties with bravery and dedication since Independence -- be it surgical strikes, air strikes, wars or insurgency.

"Though the defence forces act according to the decision of our elected government, yet politicians should desist from playing in the name of the defence forces," said the brigadier, who resides at Nagwain village in

According to Khushal Thakur, around 2.5 lakh electors out of more than 50 lakh voters in are either ex-servicemen or serving in the defence forces.

As many as 1.30 lakh people are ex-servicemen, whereas 1.20 lakh are serving. Besides, around 2 lakh electors in the state are either serving in various paramilitary forces or are retired, he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 16 2019. 15:15 IST