Did Modi just tell Arnab Goswami that he did not want Wing Commander Abhinandan back from Pakistan’s captivity?

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing widespread condemnation after he allegedly revealed during an interview with Arnab Goswami of Republic TV that he did not want Wing Commander Abhinandan back from Pakistan’s captivity.

Arnab Goswami

Speaking to Goswami on Friday, Modi blamed the opposition parties for demanding the Indian Air Force officer back from Pakistan. He said, “Some people, who depend on bread-crumbs thrown at them by these political parties, see a statesmanship in the speech delivered by Pakistani Prime Minister, but they want to doubt the statement made by their own prime minister. People of this country have to identify these people.”

On Abhinandan, Modi said, “You may remember that when the Abhinandan incident took place, every single political party should have spoken in one voice that ‘we all are proud of our armed forces because we’ve brought down one F-16.’ Instead, they started demanding ‘when will Abhinandan return?’ They quickly moved on this path.”

When asked if Wing Commander Abhinandan brought down the F-16 fighter jet, Modi replied in the affirmative. He said, “Ok, Abhinadan was captured and the government was doing whatever needed to be done at the diplomatic level. The day Abhinandan’s release was announced, the opposition had planned to stage a candle-light vigil by diverting the attention away from the Indian air strikes and Pulwama. They were disappointed because Prime Minister announced the release of Abhinandan in his parliament.”

Perhaps Modi did not realise that he inadvertently admitted that he was keen to keep the issues of Pulwama and the subsequent air strikes alive because of electoral gains in this year’s Lok Sabha polls. MNS chief Raj Thackeray had called the 45 CRPF martyrs ‘political victims’ adding that the truth behind the Pulwama terror attack will come out if NSA Ajit Doval was investigated.

Responding to opposition parties’ allegations that he violated the code of conduct by addressing the nation last week, Modi said that it was not the first time that an important announcement was made while the Code of Conduct was in place, He said, “On many occasions, it so happened, that despite Election Commission’s code of conduct being in place, the budget session of many states is still underway. Budgets are coming in, speeches are being made. Everything is happening.”

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