New Delhi: In a rare gesture, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday saluted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the "surgical strikes" by the Army on terror launch pads across the LoC and urged the Centre to counter Pakistan's smear campaign on international stage.
Kejriwal, who is often at loggerheads with the Centre, said he may have differences with the Prime Minister over several issues, but by undertaking the "surgical strikes", Modi has shown the will to deal with Pakistan.
"Last week our army showed valour and avenged the deaths of 19 soldiers killed in the Uri attack. I may have differences with the Prime Minister over a 100 issues. But when he has shown the will (to deal with this matter), I salute him," he said.
This is perhaps the first time that Kejriwal, who has been critical about the Modi government and its Pakistan policy, has come out praising him. On the day of the strikes, the Delhi Chief Minister had hailed the army, but there was no word of praise for Modi.
A day later, he had told the Delhi Assembly that is time to stand with the Centre and the differences between them can be sorted out later.
Claiming that Pakistan has gone "berserk" after the strike, Kejriwal said, it is resorting to smear campaign against India at international fora and this has to be countered.
"It has resorted to playing dirty politics. Since the last two days, Pakistan is taking international journalists to the border and trying to show that surgical strikes never took place.
"Two days back, the United Nations gave a statement that there was no such activity on the border," he said.
"My blood boiled over these news reports (of the international media). Pakistan is indulging in smearing India's image at the international level.
The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) "has not directly observed" any firing along the LoC, UN chief Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had said on September 30 against the backdrop of the surgical strikes conducted by India.
"I appeal to the Prime Minister that the way he and the Army taught Pakistan a lesson on ground, he should also unmask the propaganda by Pakistan at international level. The whole country is with you. I also appeal to the countrymen not to believe in the false campaign by Pakistan," he said.