“I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the Nation to restore the dignity of the office he occupies.”
A rare row between a sitting and a former premier broke out today after Narendra Modi insinuated that Manmohan Singh colluded with Pakistan in the Gujarat polls with the Congress leader accusing his successor of setting a “dangerous precedent” and asking his apology.
Launching a sharp counteroffensive, Singh tore into Modi over what he called the prime minister’s “ill-thought transgression” and rejected his charge as “innuendos and falsehoods”.
Addressing a public rally yesterday in Gujarat, where the second round of voting will take place on Thursday, PM Modi had raised the Mani Shankar Aiyar dinner and suggested that the Congress was conspiring with Pakistani leaders to prevent the BJP from winning the election in Gujarat, where the party has been in power for 22 years. PM Modi also said a former Pakistan Army officer has supported senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel becoming chief minister of Gujarat.
In uncharacteristically strong words, a usually reticent Singh crossed swords with his predecessor to say the Gujarat polls was never raised by anyone present at a dinner hosted by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for a visiting Pakistani leader at his house on December 6 and that the discussion was confined to India-Pakistan ties.
Singh issued a statement listing those who attended the dinner hosted in honour of the visiting former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.
Gen. Kapoor, former Army Chief, who was present at the meeting said that Gujarat elections were never discussed at the dinner meeting.
Manmohan Singh said, “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.”