"Anywhere In Country, From Kolkata To Karachi": PM's Mix-Up At Poll Rally


NEW DELHI: During an election rally in Gujarat's Jamnagar on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking about the healthcare scheme 'Ayushman Bharat', mentioned Pakistan's Karachi, before clarifying that he actually wanted to say Kochi. He followed that up with a quick explanation why he said so.

The prime minister, who is campaigning for his party - the BJP - is also having to deal separately with the heightened tension with Pakistan. The situation along the Line of Control and the International Border with the neighbouring country has been very sensitive since the Pulwama terror attack last month.

PM Modi, who is constantly being briefed by the armed forces and top defence personnel about the current situation with Pakistan, has been heading several top-level security meetings between his party's election campaign. That is the reason why he ended up saying "Karachi" instead of "Kochi", he suggested.

While addressing the rally in Gujarat, PM Modi said that "Under the Ayushman Bharat health scheme, if a resident of Jamangar has gone to Bhopal, and happens to falls ill, he/she need not comeback to Jamnagar for treatment. If the person shows their (Ayushman Bharat) beneficiary card, they will get free treatment anywhere in the country, be it Kolkata, or even Karachi."

Calling it a slip-of-tongue, the prime minister was quick to correct his remark by saying that he "meant to say Kochi, not Karachi".

He went on to say that "Nowadays my mind is preoccupied with the situation with our neighbouring country."

The prime minister further said that in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, the pre-emptive, non-military air strike on one of the biggest terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan was necessary.

"That (air strikes in Pakistan) was necessary," he said.

PM Modi was addressing a gathering after inaugurating a new 750-bed building of the Guru Gobind Singh hospital in Gujarat's Jamnagar.