Jammu and Kashmir: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) patron Farooq Abdullah on Monday kicked off a storm by saying that the airstrike by India on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 was nothing but a gimmick as the Lok Sabha Elections are in the offing.

Farooq Abdullah further claimed that India should be grateful that the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot survived and returned from Pakistan with respect. He added that it was disheartening that India lost an aircraft worth crores.

“We always knew that there would be a fight or a skirmish with Pakistan. This surgical strike (airstrike) was done as elections are approaching. We lost an aircraft worth crores. Be thankful that the pilot (IAF) survived & returned from Pakistan with respect,” said the former J&K CM thus raising quite a few eyebrows.

On March 9, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had too attacked the government saying that in future, political parties may resort to Pulwama-like terror attack in a bid to win electoral polls.

Earlier too, Abdullah had demanded proof of decimating terrorists in the Balakot airstrike conducted by the IAF on JeM training centre and asked the Centre to release evidence of the pre-emptive airstrike.

The NC patron had said, “We have shot one of their planes? Where is the proof of what Amit Shah says, ‘300 people died’? If you ask, you are against the country. Time has come that you should ask questions.” He further went on to say that the government labels a person as an anti-national if it dares to question it.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti had too demanded proof of the airstrike conducted by IAF in Balakot across Line of Control (LoC). Mufti had also questioned the government’s move and said citizens of the country had every right to question the credibility of the airstrike as the government is being ambiguous about the details.

The Opposition has been continuously attacking the government over the airstrike. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah had slammed the Opposition leaders for questioning the authenticity and demanding proof of IAF air strikes that decimated biggest terror hideouts of JeM in Balakot. Claiming that Opposition statements brought a smile on Pakistan’s face, Shah asserted that he ‘feels ashamed’ after questions were raised on country’s armed forces.

“Mamata Ji asks for proof, Rahul Baba says it is being politicised, Akhilesh says it should be investigated. Feel ashamed, such statements bring a smile to Pakistan’s face,” Shah had said while addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Surat.