Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 11 December, hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleging that Congress party met with Pakistan officials to discuss upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.
Singh said that he was “pained and anguished by falsehood and canards being spread” by Modi, as the Gujarat elections unfold. Singh accused Modi of spreading “falsehoods in a lost cause”.
Singh asserted that Modi was setting a "dangerous precedent" with his "insatiable desire to tarnish" every Constitutional office, including that of a former Prime Minister and Army Chief.
The former prime minister said:
The Congress, on 11 December, said Narendra Modi was “demeaning” the Prime Minister’s office by alleging that Mani Shankar Aiyar conspired with Pakistan to interfere in the Gujarat Assembly elections.
Modi had accused a group of Congress leaders of meeting Pakistan's High Commissioner at Aiyar's residence before the latter called him "neech". Modi said the meeting at Aiyar's residence was also attended by former Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He added that the Congress party did not need “sermons on nationalism” and that Modi’s track record on fighting terrorism was “well known”. Singh asserted that he wanted to “remind” Modi that he had visited Pakistan “uninvited” after the attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur.
In the statement, Monmohan wrote that he rejects the "innuendos and falsehoods" that he discussed Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Aiyer on 6 December.
He also asserted that all the invitees who were public servants and journalists could not be accused of indulging in anti-national activities.
He also asked for the prime minister to "tell the country" the reason for inviting "the infamous" ISI of Pakistan to the Air Base in Pathankot following the terror attack.
Manmohan also wrote that he “sincerely hoped” that the Prime Minister will apologise to the nation for his “ill-thought transgression”.
Surprising That Congress Wants PM to Apologise: Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, reacting to Singh’s statement demanding Modi’s apology, said that it was “surprising that Congress party expects the Prime Minister of India to apologise for it”.
Arun JaitleyAs far as the present government’s track record of fighting terrorism is concerned, one should just follow media reports. No government in the past has a track record that the present government had in fighting terrorism.
Jaitley added that while Congress initially denied the meeting, they are now “questioning” those who are raising the issue now. He asserted that if there is a national position on an issue, all “responsible parties are expected to honour it”.
“PM Not Maintaining Decorum of His Post”
Randeep Surjewala of the Congress party, addressing the media, said that Manmohan singh was a "very decent" man who had to answer back to Modi's "lies".
He alleged that the Prime Minister was getting angrier by the day, and that he is not maintaining the "decorum" of his post. He claimed that no prime minister has told such "lies" in the last 70 years.
Surjewala added that Singh was a "far more seasoned, learned and experienced than the present Prime Minister".
Surjewala too, reading out Singh’s statement, demanded answers from the Prime Minister regarding his “uninvited” visit to Pakistan, following Gurdaspur and Udhampur attacks.
“Is Winning Elections So Important?”
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram alos hit out at the BJP’s campaign in Gujarat, asking if “winning an election so important that such allegations” can be made against a former prime minister.
P Chidambaram on TwitterThe BJP’s campaign in Gujarat in the last few days, especially yesterday, has gone beyond bizarre. Should a political party go to any length to win an election?
Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh is absolutely right in demanding an apology for the outrageous allegation made yesterday against the former Vice President and former Prime Minister and other distinguished former civil servants— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 11, 2017
Read Manmohan Singh’s full statement here:
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