In what seemed a ploy by the Congress to score brownie points just a day ahead of second phase of Gujarat elections, the party released a video of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday where he reiterated his demand for an apology from Narendra Modi over his charge that the Grand Old Party was colluding with Pakistan to defeat the BJP.
In his statement, Singh said Prime Minister Modi, fearing “imminent defeat” in Gujarat, was spreading “falsehoods” and “canards” and was setting a dangerous precedent by his “insatiable desire” to “tarnish” every Constitutional office.
The reason behind releasing the video was obvious to one and all, prompting BJP chief Amit Shah to launch a counter attack. Shah asked why was the former PM silent when Modi was called “neech” and when Rahul Gandhi tore an ordinance in 2013. “Why was Manmohan Singh silent when PM of his country was called ‘neech’. Where was his anger when Rahul Gandhi tore an ordinance passed by his Cabinet? Where was his concern for dignity of PMO then,” the BJP chief asked.
Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh issues a statement on the baseless allegations made towards him by PM Modi. pic.twitter.com/Vlqfjcgr5q
— Congress (@INCIndia) December 13, 2017
When Singh had first spoken against the PM on Monday, most of the BJP brass, including Modi himself and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came out to counter him, laying bare the importance the party attached to the former PM’s statement. On Wednesday, Shah said the country missed Singh’s “anger” when corruption happened under his watch. “Manmohan Singh is very angry these days. But the nation missed his anger when monumental loot happened under his watch,” PTI quoted Shah as saying.
Singh’s hard-hitting statement was in response to the Prime Minister’s reference at an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday to a “secret meeting” held on December 6 at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence to allege Pakistan’s hand in the Gujarat elections. Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood and former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor were among those at the meeting.
In an uncharacteristic attack on Modi, the former Prime Minister asked him to “show the maturity and gravitas expected of the high office he holds” and apologise for his “ill thought transgression” to restore the dignity of the office he occupies. “I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Aiyar as alleged by Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner. The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations,” Singh reiterated on Wednesday.