At a rally in Himachal Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi invoked Indian army's martyr Vikram Batra by using the phrase, 'Yeh dil maange more'.
Captain Batra's family was not impressed at this usage of their son's name. "BJP must not drag his name into politics," said his father, GL Batra in television reports.
Captain Batra's family challenged Narendra Modi by stating, "If he feels so indebted to martyrs he must withdraw his party's candidate against Mrs Batra." Kamal Batra also hit back at Narendra Modi for the comments by stating that he is a 'Pseudo-patriot.'
Captain Vikram Batra's mother Kamal Kanta Batra is contesting elections on AAP's ticket from Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh. She is running for Parliament for the first time from a town known for its large concentration of ex-servicemen and serving soldiers.
She has been fielded by Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party. She is pitted against the BJP's sitting MP Anurag Thakur and Rajinder Singh Rana, of the Congress.
When Kamal Batra opposed Modi's comments, BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi came out and attacked her vociferously. She said, "'Dil Maange More' is not a copyright of the Vikram Batra's family."
To add to it, she went ahead and also said, ""Mrs Batra should have joined the BJP before contesting the polls against Anurag Thakur."
Indian army has won many wars including the India-pakistan, India-China and Kargil war. India lost as many as 527 soldiers and around 1,363 soldiers were wounded in the Kargil war and it was unfair of Narendra Modi to involve a soldier in political context for electoral benefits.
At the rally in Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, Modi had said, "I want your best wishes. I want to serve you. You've given them (Congress) 60 years. Can't you give me 60 months? Yeh dil maange more! Give me 60 months."
He stuck to his speech at another rally, saying "Vikram Batra died for the country - he had said - yeh dil maange more. I say it too. I want all four seats in Himachal. I want 300 lotuses across India."
The Batra family clearly wanted to stay away from politics and politicisation of their matryr son's last words. Captain Vikram Batra's family had asked BJP to refrain from politicising martyrdom for electoral gains in the Lok Sabha Elections.
G L Batra, father of Captain Vikram Batra had added that it was incorrect to drag Vikram's name into politics to gain votes for Narendra Modi.
Is it fair on Narendra Modi's part to politicise 'Kargil war' and the martyrs for electoral gains?
Narendra Modi accused the Congress of betraying India's soldiers by stating, "Where will more Vikram Batras come from?." Not only was Modi using Vikram's name but also playing with Indian army's sentiments and politicising the whole tirade against Congress and involving them.
The Kargil war issue had been politicised earlier and played along into communal politics when SP leader Azam Khan had made a statement that Kargil war was fought and won only by Muslim soldiers. This comment had drawn Election Commission's ire and a blanket ban.
BJP has been trying to cover a huge canvass of topics and issues to woo voters in recent past. But, this 'Dil Maange more' comment may backfire for Narendra Modi as he invoked an army matryr and his party workers took the battle centerstage by commenting in a crude fashion.
Vikram Batra's mother has refrained from using her son's name in elections. In an earlier interview to a news channel, she had stated, "Vikram Batra was not just my son, he belonged to the nation. It is our duty to remember him and people should support us."
Meenakshi Lekhi attacked her by saying that people do not vote someone on the basis of them being someone's mother.
Who was Vikram Batra?
Captain Vikram Batra was an Indian Army officer who perished in the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir between India and Pakistan. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest and prestigious award for valour, for his heroics in infamous war.
The Indian defence has immortalised his last moments in the following documentary:
Below is a video chronicling Vikram Batra's last moments:
With inputs from Ruchi Kumar