In what seemed like a dig on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav asked why is it that soldiers from all parts of the country are sacrificing their lives, except for those hailing from Gujarat.
UP, Madhya Pradesh, Dakshin Bharat har jagah se shaheed huye hain, Gujarat ka koi jawan shaheed hua ho toh batao: Akhilesh Yadav pic.twitter.com/1eN85HemJh— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 10, 2017
Reportedly, Akhilesh made the comment when he was asked about the killings of soldiers in Kashmir.
Akhilesh said, "Many soldiers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and even from southern India have sacrificed their lives for the country, but do tell me if any soldier from Gujarat has done so?"
Gujarat is Modi's home state, which he governed as Chief Minister for more than 12 years before moving to Delhi in 2014 as Prime Minister.
More shockingly, Akhilesh's comments come on a day when the killing of a young army officer in Kashmir has evoked sharp reactions, grief and anger. Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, who had come to his hometown Kashmir to attend a wedding, was abducted and killed by Kashmiri militants.
Not surprisingly, he was slammed by social media users and the opposition parties alike, with #AkhileshInsultsMartyrs becomign a top trend on Wednesday evening:
Arnab Goswami's newly launched channel Republic TV was among the first to attack Yadav for his remarks, demanding he apologises for it:
We demand an apology from Akhilesh Yadav for his dirty comment that attempts to politicise the blood of our Martyrs. #AkhileshInsultsMartyrs— Republic (@republic) May 10, 2017
Political fraternity largely condemned it:
'Jawans' belong to the entire Nation,not to States.Instead of unfortunate spins to garnerTRP's,pl question the Govt on lax National Security— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) May 10, 2017
Akhilesh do you want that 1 Jawan from each state shud sacrifice his life?— Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) May 10, 2017
BJP's Shrikant Sharma, a UP minister, said: "Akhilesh's statement is very saddening. We strongly condemn it. He is unable to accept his defeat and so making such statements to vent his frustration."
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "His talk and politics have been discarded by the people of the state. That is the reason why he is making such statements in frustration."
There may or may not be a martyr from Gujarat but there is definitely a juvenile delinquent in Uttar Pradesh called Akhilesh Yadav— Mohan Sinha (@Mohansinha) May 10, 2017
Akhilesh comment asking why no martyrs from Gujarat : bad taste— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) May 10, 2017