Prime Minister’s ‘Pak conspiracy’ remarks draw condemnation 

Dr Manmohan Singh used 12 words to hit back at his successor: Pained. Anguished. Sad. Regrettable. Falsehoods. Innuendos. Canards. Abuse. Insatiable. Compromised. Desperate. Dangerous

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Ashutosh Sharma

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Pakistan conspiracy” remarks during an election rally in Gujarat have elicited widespread condemnation from all quarters. Even though some senior BJP leader have endorsed the combative response of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, there is complete silence on part of the party spokespersons.

Suggesting that Pakistan was trying to influence the assembly polls in the Gujarat while speaking at an election rally in Palanpur in Gujarat on December 10, PM Modi had claimed that some Pakistani officials and former PM Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's house on December 6 to discuss the matter.

The combative response of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh—who has been dubbed as “Silent Prime Minister”—on Monday called for his successor’s apology for spreading “falsehood and canards” to score political points in Gujarat elections.

While some viewed his uncharacteristically aggressive reaction as “sharpest ever counter” in his entire political career, others described it as a “fine example of a polite verbal whipping”.

The “furious” Singh, a twitter handle @churumuri pointed out used 12 words in his rebuttal to hit back at his successor: Pained. Anguished. Sad. Regrettable. Falsehoods. Innuendos. Canards. Abuse. Insatiable. Compromised. Desperate. Dangerous.

Here’s is a collection of other twitter reactions to PM Modi’s allegations and his successor’s response:

BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha on Monday questioned PM Modi for spinning “unsubstantiated and unbelievable” stories against political opponents.

Describing PM Modi’s allegation as “absurd”, senior Bharatiya Janta Party leader Yashwant Sinha told The Wire: “I see nothing wrong in Mani Shankar organising a dinner meeting to discuss Indo-Pak peace prospects. I was also invited to the same dinner but could not attend it because of my political engagement in Akola in Maharashtra.”

“As the head of the government, he (PM Modi) could have taken appropriate action. Instead of that, he is making it a poll issue. I think it is not proper in a democracy,” senior CPI leader D Raja said.

“It must be presumed that the Prime Minister has sufficiently credible information to make the charge. National security interests demand that stern penal action be taken against Mr Aiyar for hosting a meeting at his residence for visiting Pakistani interlocutors; among those who attended the meeting include a former prime minister, a former vice-president, a former chief of the Indian Army and a number of retired distinguished diplomats,” an editorial in The Tribune said, adding that “faced with the heavy baggage of a 22-year-old anti-incumbency, the BJP leadership feels desperate enough to invoke, once again, Pakistan, as an ‘election issue’. The sub-text of this sales pitch, sadly enough, is introduction of the old Hindu-Muslim divide.”

The Indian Express editorial titled No, Prime Minister, said that PM Narendra Modi's Congress-Pakistan-Muslim rhetoric may win him votes but it undermines his office — and poisons India’s politics. “The import of the PM’s statements was inescapable and grim: Speaking in the same breath of the Congress, Pakistan and a Muslim candidate for CM, he suggested that they are partners in an unholy, rather anti-national, conspiracy,” the editorial read and stressed that “next time there is a hate crime, the silence of the PM can — and should — be interrogated more loudly.”

Earlier, former Army General Deepak Kapoor had clarified the air over PM Modi’s ‘Pakistan conspiracy allegations. Talking to The Indian Express, Kapoor clarified that the dinner on December 6 was attended by 20 odd people including former diplomats, defence personnel—who had served in Pakistan at some point in time. “Yes, I was part of the meeting and we discussed nothing more than India-Pakistan relations,” Kapoor told the national daily.

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Published: 12 Dec 2017, 4:42 PM