New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hammered the opposition for trying to play politics over the Pulwama terrorist attack, and lamented that those bred on the largesse of the opposition see statesmanship in Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's statements while casting doubts on the Prime Minister of their own country.    

"Such (Pulwama-like) incidents have to be handled in a balanced manner. If someone tries to make it a political issue, it shows their ignorance," the Prime Minister said in an interview with Republic Bharat.

Modi gave an example of how he handled an emergency situation during a rally in Patna in 2013 that could well have gone out of hand. 

"In October 2013, I was holding a rally in Patna and bomb blasts took place in the vicinity. If I would have lost composure at that time, it would have created massive chaos. So I asked people to keep calm and didn't bring up the news of the blasts. Later, people came to know about the blasts in which there were some casualties too," Modi recounted.  

The PM said that when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 while flying a MiG-21 Bison, following India's Balakot air strikes, all political parties of the country should have spoken as one and hailed the achievement. After all, a MiG-21 Bison taking down a much-sophisticated F-16 is no mean feat. 

"Instead, they (the opposition) kept harping on when Abhinandan would return. They had planned a candlelight vigil for Abhinandan, but then the Pakistan PM announced that they will be releasing Abhinandan, and our opposition's plans were shattered," Modi said.  

Modi said that he had given the security forces a free hand to formulate their plans to take on the terrorists and took an active interest in the Balakot operation. 

"A PM can't formulate the details of military action. A number of institutions are involved in this exercise. It involves a lot of intelligence-gathering. The PM's role here is to emphasise that the government should act according to the expectations of the nation and that the terrorists should know that enough is enough. I have given a free hand to the security forces. They were open to make plans and implement them as they deemed fit. On operations in which the lives of our jawans are on stake, I can't stay away. So I was fully involved," Modi revealed.   
"The opposition has become used to launching personal attacks. Nobody can't doubt the patriotism of Narendra Modi. My life speaks for itself. The country needs to be concerned that there are leaders who can stoop terribly low for their interest. 

"They (the opposition) don't have respect for our brave soldiers. Terrorism has become a massive issue and India is playing a major role. They (the opposition) don't realise the harm that such dirty politics can do. It is a cause for grave concern for the country. When the people showed their disapproval, these leaders had to beat a retreat. If there is substance in their allegations, they should make these poll issues. They should show that courage and let the people decide," Modi said.