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.

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:

Political fraternity largely condemned it:

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."

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