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Modi must apologise to the nation for his comments, says Manmohan

Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh. File

Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he sincerely hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will apologise to the nation for suggesting that he (Dr. Singh) and others held a “secret meeting” with Pakistani officials at suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence to “influence” the outcome of the Gujarat elections.

“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. Sadly & regrettably, Sh. Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former Prime Minister and Army Chief,” Dr. Singh said in a statement.

The Congress Party needed no sermons on “nationalism” from a party and Prime Minister, ''whose compromised track record on fighting terrorism is well known,'' he said. Mr. Modi had “gone to Pakistan uninvited after the terrorist attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur,” he pointed out.

 

“Let him also tell the country the reason for inviting the infamous ISI of Pakistan to our strategic air base in Pathankot to investigate a terror attack that emanated from Pakistan,” he said.

“I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Shri Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner. The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations. Names of the distinguished Indian public servants and journalists present at the dinner are enclosed to this statement. None of them could be accused of indulging in any anti-national activities.

“I sincerely hope that Prime Minister will show the maturity and gravitas expected of the high office he holds instead of concentrating his energy solely on erroneously conceived brownie points. I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the Nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies,” Dr. Singh said.

Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former High Commissioners to Pakistan K. Natwar Singh, Sharad Sabharwal, K.S. Bajpai, Satinder Lambah and TCA Raghavan, former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood,and senior journalists were among those present at Mr. Aiyar’s residence for dinner and discussion on India-Pakistan relations.

At an election rally in Gujarat, Mr. Modi suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the course of elections in Gujarat and referred to the “meeting” at Mr. Aiyar’s residence.

Here's the full text of Dr. Singh's statement:

''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. Sadly & regrettably, Sh. Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a Former Prime Minister and Army Chief.

''The Congress party needs no sermons on "Nationalism" from a party and Prime Minister, whose compromised track record on fighting terrorism is well known. Let me remind Sh. Narender Modi that he had gone to Pakistan uninvited after the terrorist attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur. Let him also tell the country the reason for inviting the infamous ISI of Pakistan to our strategic Air Base in Pathankot to investigate a terror attack that emanated from Pakistan

''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. 

''I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Shri Modi.  Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner.  The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations.  Names of the distinguished Indian public servants and journalists present at the dinner are enclosed to this statement.  None of them could be accused of indulging in any anti-national activities.

''I sincerely hope that Prime Minister will show the maturity and gravitas expected of the high office he holds instead of concentrating his energy solely on erroneously conceived brownie points. I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the Nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies.''

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:29:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/modi-must-apologise-to-the-nation-for-his-comments-says-manmohan/article21391021.ece

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