A day after the Congress said it was the prime minister’s prerogative to invite heads of state to his swearing-in, former union minister Manish Tewari Thursday took a dig at Narendra Modi for inviting Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Throughout the election campaign, you saw a lot of anti-Pakistan rhetoric, which was articulated by the BJP in a language which was extremely vociferous to say the least. And now you have this invitation to the PM of Pakistan. So, it is for the BJP to introspect as to whether terror and invitations can go hand in hand,” Tewari said.
Not everyone in the Congress, however, seemed to share Tewari’s view. AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh said he “welcomed Modi’s initiative of inviting the Pakistan PM for his oath ceremony”.
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Tewari agreed that it was the prerogative of the elected government to invite whoever it wants to the ceremony, but added that the BJP should not forget that it had attacked Manmohan Singh for carrying forward the process, initiated by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, of improving relations with the neighbour. Singh had come under attack during talks with Pakistan leaders in Havana, New York and Sharm el-Sheikh, with the BJP saying that “terror and talks cannot go hand in hand”.
On Wednesday, however, the Congress had maintained there was no question of not welcoming Modi’s initiative. “These are the PM’s prerogatives and we are not here to interfere with the prerogatives of the prime minister. It is part of governance. It is early days yet and we wish something good happens. We will be very happy,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said.