Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation against his predecessor Manmohan Singh over the Gujarat assembly elections elicited strong condemnation from several quarters with NCP chief Sharad Pawar telling him “shame on you” and Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi calling it unacceptable.
“Shame on you, Prime Minister for making such allegations. You have made the allegations against this country’s former prime minister and former Defence officials,” said Pawar, a former Defence minister.
“Modi’s government has not solved issues of farmers and other issues the country faces, but he is bringing the Pakistan angle as a diversionary tactic for Gujarat elections,” Pawar said at a public rally — ‘Halla Bol’ –organised by the Congress and the NCP in Nagpur on issues relating to agrarian crisis.
Addressing a poll rally in Gujarat, PM Modi alleged Pakistan’ interference in the state and attempted to link a dinner meeting hosted by suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for Pakistan dignitaries and attended by Manmohan Singh among others with the ongoing polls and a conspiracy against the BJP.
Meanwhile, Gandhi hit out at the prime minister for his remarks against Singh while addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad on the final day of campaigning for the Assembly polls. “What Modiji has said about former PM Manmohan Singh is not acceptable,” he said.
Shiv Sena, a key BJP ally, also launched a blistering attack on Modi, saying that dragging Pakistan into Gujarat election campaign was an “impious” way of trying to win the polls. In an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, Sena said a prime minister is supposed to take action and not level allegations.
“Prime Minister Modi has levelled a serious charge that Pakistan is interfering in Gujarat polls. We can understand the worries of Modi but a PM is supposed to take action and not level allegations.
“Gujarat has become even more important than Kashmir. Until yesterday, Pakistan was interfering in Kashmir and China was interfering in Leh, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh,” it said.
The Sena further quipped that nowadays, in all elections, either Pakistan or fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim is brought at the forefront. “When sand below the feet starts moving, Pakistan and Dawood chanting begins. It is happening today as well. This is an impious way,” it said.
“Why are allegations levelled only in election rallies? If an interference from Pakistan is happening, let the Indian Army enter that country and take action, the Sena suggested.
“The country expects Modi to work. How many times will you chant Pakistan’s name?”
Modi had indicated that Manmohan had colluded with Pakistan for BJP’s defeat at the polls.
In a strong rebuttal, Manmohan Singh subsequently launched a blistering attack on his successor in an uncharacteristic fashion, accusing Modi of spreading “falsehoods” and “canards” fearing “imminent defeat” in Gujarat. Singh also remarked PM Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his “insatiable desire” to “tarnish” every Constitutional office.
With PTI inputs