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Narendra Modi will not apologise: Govt.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge speaks in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.  

The government has made it clear on Tuesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not tender an apology to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his comments during the campaign for the Gujarat Assembly elections.

The government conveyed its decision during a meeting of Opposition leaders with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar. The meeting came after the Chairman of Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu asked both sides to talk and resolve the issue. He also made it clear that he would not admit any adjournment motion on the issue.

LS walkout

In the Lok Sabha, Congress members staged a walkout after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan refused to allow them to raise the issue and demand an apology.

Following the walkout, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar condemned the conduct of Congress members and accused them of staging “mock proceedings” by speaking even after being disallowed by the Speaker.

Manmohan meets Naidu

In the Rajya Sabha, Dr. Manmohan Singh also met Mr. Naidu to express anguish over Mr. Modi’s remarks.

“Dr. Manmohan Singhji met me. He has expressed his concern, his feelings. I have talked to him and also understood what he meant. I have conveyed it to the right persons also,” Mr. Naidu said.

The government has made it clear that there will be no apology from Mr. Modi. The government has assured, however, that either Mr. Jaitley, who is Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, or Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar will make a statement.

“The Prime Minister's stature will not be diminished if he clarifies and regrets. Either he should prove it that there is something wrong or take his words back,” said Anand Sharma, Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha.

According to sources, during the meeting between the Opposition and the government, Mr. Jaitley made it clear that he had a transcript of the Prime Minister’s speech and he did not speak out of line.

Mr. Jaitley instead went on to accuse the Congress of using abusive terms for Mr. Modi.

Since Parliament convened on December 15, both houses have been stalled with opposition demanding an apology and clarification from the Prime Minister for casting aspersions on former Dr. Manmohan Singh.

On December 11, while addressing a rally in Gujarat, Mr. Modi had claimed that suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar and the party were conspiring with Pakistan to defeat the Gujarat. He had said that the conspiracy was hatched during a dinner meet at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house which was attended by Pakistan’s foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud. Dr. Manmohan Singh and former vice-president Hamid Ansari.

“(On one hand) Pakistan Army’s former DG is interfering in Gujarat’s election, on the other, Pakistani people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. After that meeting, people of Gujarat, backward communities, poor people and Modi were insulted. Don’t you think such events raise doubts,” Modi said.

In the Lok Sabha, while turning down the opposition demand for a discussion on the issue, Ms Mahajan said, “The elections are over and the results are out. I cannot allow you to raise the issue here.” She also threatened to name them, which is supposed to be a sign of disciplinary action.

The House was adjourned for a short while during Question Hour.

The protests continued in the Well of the House even in the Zero Hour, with Congress members trying to speak even when not granted permission.

With Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi looking on, party members turned to addressing the Speaker from the Well one by one though they could not be heard.

The Speaker continued with the Zero Hour proceedings during which members from ruling BJP and other parties raised various issues.

Before the Congress walked out, its leader in the House Mallikarjuna Kharge continued to read out from a written note from his seat despite being disallowed by the Speaker.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:14:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/narendra-modi-will-not-apologise-govt/article21953452.ece

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