Shiv Sena on Monday criticised its ally BJP and other political parties for using the uniform and pictures of soldiers to seek votes ahead of Lok Sabha polls and claimed that they are "as guilty as those demanding proofs of the operations of armed forces".
"Those using the uniform and pictures of soldiers to seek votes are as guilty as those demanding proofs of the operations of armed forces," the latest editorial in Shiv Sena's mouthpiece 'Saamana' said.
"Photographs have been published of BJP leader Manoj Tiwari donning Army uniform. He is saying that BJP will win the election...This gives strength to the Opposition's allegation that the air strike (in Balakot in Pakistan) was done for political benefit," it said.
The editorial said, "Political parties have put up posters claiming that they have taken the revenge of the Pulwama terror attack from Pakistan. IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman shot down Pakistan's F-16 because BJP is in power -- this publicity is being openly done. BJP and several political parties have used Abhinandan's image on posters to promote themselves... Later when the Opposition demanded proof of the IAF strike, then this was termed 'anti-national' by BJP."
It said that "using Army uniform for political benefit is not appropriate".
Shiv Sena's dig at BJP comes less than a month after the two parties declared an alliance for the Lok Sabha polls.
At a joint press conference with BJP president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had on February 18 said that Shiv Sena and BJP will field candidates for 23 and 25 Lok Sabha seats respectively in the state. A total of 48 Lok Sabha seats are at stake in Maharashtra.