In a sharp and seemingly angry response, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apologise to the nation for alleging that he was conspiring with Pakistan for BJP’s defeat in the Gujarat polls.
Rejecting the charge as “innuendos and falsehoods”, Singh said he was deeply pained by the prime minister’s remarks.
“I am deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by none less than Prime Minister, Sh. Narender Modi. Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable,” the former Prime Minister said in a statement released by his party.
The issue has assumed dramatic political proportions after Modi, addressing an election rally in Palanpur, Gujarat, on Sunday suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the assembly polls in the state.
He claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6. This was a day before Aiyar’s “neech” jibe against Modi.
Issuing a statement, hours after the Congress party criticised Prime Minister Modi earlier today, Dr. Singh listed those who attended the dinner, and stressed that the election was not discussed during the meeting.
“My track record of public service to the country over last five decades is known to everyone. No one, including Sh. Modi, can lamely question it to gain lost political ground,” Manmohan Singh said.
“I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the Nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies,” Singh said in the statement.
Listing the names of all those present at the occasion, the former Prime Minister said that Gujarat polls were not even an issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyer at his residence. “The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations,” he said.
Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari, former Foreign Minister K Natwar Singh, former Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor, senior journalists Ajai Shukla, Rahul Khushwant Singh and former top bureaucrats including Salman Haider, TCA Raghavan were among the names listed by Manmohan Singh in his statement.
(With inputs from PTI)