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People murmuring whether airstrike had political purpose: Pawar

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

on Saturday said there were "murmurs" of doubt among people on whether the post-attack airstrike on February 26 on a camp in had a "political purpose".

In an interview to PTI, the Maratha strongman said cross-border surgical strikes took place every year, adding that had he been the now, he would not have milked the issue for political benefits, but would only have worked in the interest of the nation.

said being a former defence minister, he was aware of the capabilities of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, adding that no one could challenge their might.

"However, this government has lost credibility in the eyes of the public at large. That is why there are murmurs among the people whether it (the airstrike after the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama) was for a political purpose or not, whether certain actions were taken just to regain credibility," he claimed.

"Such surgical attacks have happened many times. Every year there is something at the India-border. If something happens from their side, our forces respond effectively. It has not just happened once or twice, but so many instances," he said.

Stating that he would not have made noise immediately after such a military action to show the world how strong his forces were, said, "I would have kept mum and taught a lesson to anyone trying to create a problem for my nation. However, my approach would not have been for political exploitation, but only to protect the interest of the nation."

Asked if according to him, would be an effective prime ministerial candidate, said the himself had not staked claim to the post in case the opposition "mahagathbandhan" (grand alliance) won a majority in the upcoming polls.

Stating that was in the larger interest of the nation, which was to oust the current Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, the former minister asserted that all the parties in the grand alliance were ready to help and cooperate towards that aim.

Asked about his own prime ministerial ambitions, he said the Party (NCP) would contest hardly 25 seats in the polls starting April 11.

"I can coordinate but I do not expect that with a number of 25 or 26 (seats), one can ultimately take up such a major responsibility. But my party's efforts will definitely be to bring together like-minded forces and see that the BJP and their friends do not get the requisite numbers," Pawar 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. 19:00 IST