Congress has accused the BJP of using retaliatory air strikes on Pakistan as a political tool and has instead highlighted job creation, tackling farm distress and empowerment of women, among its top priorities.
Pollsters say PM Modi and the BJP's re-election bid got a boost from a wave of patriotism after the suicide bomb attack and the Indian government's fast response.
In the last four years, especially after the Maharashtra Assembly elections of October 2014 before which the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance split, the Sena and Thackeray have severely criticised the Modi government and made personal remarks against the Prime Minister.
"Nationalism is our inspiration", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the release of the BJP's election manifesto at the party headquarters in New Delhi. The Prime Minister said Congress is a party that wants to give open licence to anti-nationals because the party and their friends think alike. "Had Congress leaders acted wisely during the pre-independence era, this Pakistan would not have born", Modi stated.
"We didn't talk of air strike in manifesto, but carried it out when warranted", PM Modi added.
"Let them do it and it will pave the way for our azadi", Farooq Abdullah, president of Kashmir's National Conference party, told an election rally, referring to freedom for the region. The prime minister reiterated his allegation that the opposition parties that they were questioning the valour of the security forces post last month's Pulwama terror attack.
Pre-election opinion polls in India, with thousands of respondents, have proved unreliable several times in the past in a vast country of about 1.3 billion people, of whom about 900 million are eligible to vote.
PM Modi, while speaking at the Latur rally said, "I have come to know that you are sitting here since 9.30 AM". The result is not due until May 23. In Maharashtra, Mr. Modi asked for votes in the name of the soldiers who fell in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir in February.
Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the first phase of polling for the 17th Lok Sabha election scheduled for Thursday.
Even the Aam Admi Party took a hit at the BJP for a poll promise in their manifesto.