Mumbai: Referring to the IAF airstrike in Balakot, the Shiv Sena on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying patriotism isn’t the monopoly of a single party. In an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Shiv Sena asserted that calling people ‘anti-national’ just because they are political opponents, is equivalent to curbing their freedom of expression.

“Patriotism is not the monopoly of a single party…we wonder when politicians will understand that the action (air strike) was part of duty (of soldiers) and not a task asked to be carried out,” said Sena which has often been at loggerheads with its long-time ally BJP.

Accusing the central government of politicising the airstrike, the Shiv Sena said that it supports the Opposition as using the Indian Armed Forces for electoral gains is an insult to the soldiers and their courage.

“Why act frivolously by wearing soldiers’ uniforms which they have obtained after rigorous training and hard work? It supports the allegations of the Opposition that the BJP is politicising the air strike,” the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.

It added,“We have basically failed to prevent the casualties of our soldiers, but some wear the camouflage (outfits) and campaign for political reasons. It doesn’t look good when the Election Commission has to intervene and ask the political parties not to use images of jawans in political campaigns.”

Last Saturday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had also attacked the Centre over the Pulwama attack and said that in future, political parties may resort to Pulwama-like terror attack in a bid to win electoral polls.

“There is a limit to speaking lies. Lies are being spoken to win elections. In a bid to win upcoming elections, there will be another Pulwama like attack within the next 1-2 months,” the MNS Chief had said.