The Congress is set to protest the “insult” to former prime minister Manmohan Singh when Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the Lok Sabha on Wednesday and the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Senior government sources, however, ruled out an apology from the PM on the issue. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, also the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, might make a statement that could meet the Congress’ demand halfway. But Jaitley might also remind the Opposition party how several of its members have, over the years, called Modi names. Wednesday is when in the Lok Sabha the question hour is reserved for questions on departments and portfolios under the PM, while the Rajya Sabha takes these questions on Thursday. Government sources were hopeful that Parliament would continue to transact business after both Houses functioned on Tuesday. During the Gujarat election campaign, the PM had alleged a “conspiracy by Pakistan” to influence the state polls. He had also claimed the former PM, several former diplomats, former vice-president M Hamid Ansari and a former Army chief were part of a dinner hosted by now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar where this was discussed. On Tuesday, as the Congress demanded that the PM come to the House to apologise for his comments, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the government and the Opposition to talk to each other. “My operation (of the House) depends on your cooperation,” Naidu said. Later, Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar met the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Anand Sharma. Briefing the media, Sharma said a formulation has been suggested by the Congress that the two ministers would take to the PM. Naidu said the former PM met him and conveyed his dismay at the comments made by Modi. Sharma said the PM, instead of expressing regret, repeated these comments during his victory speech at the BJP headquarters after the results of the Assembly polls were announced on Monday. The Gujarat poll led to a war of words between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the BJP.
Speaking to journalists, Rahul Gandhi termed the Gujarat election results a “massive jolt” to the BJP. Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar retorted that it was the Congress chief’s “dynastic arrogance” talking and he was deluding himself by “enjoying defeat as victory”.Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP, said the slim win of the BJP in Gujarat was a “warning bell” to those who believed in an autocratic rule. The Sena, as well as Rahul Gandhi, also questioned the so-called Gujarat model of development. Gandhi said it was "good propaganda and able marketing", but "hollow from within." "You saw the results and it has dealt a zabardast jhatka (a massive jolt) to the BJP in Gujarat," Rahul Gandhi said. He said the Gujarat result has put a question mark on Modi’s credibility. The Congress chief said the PM, who earlier talked non-stop on corruption, has stopped talking about Jay Shah (BJP chief Amit Shah’s son) or Rafale fighter jet deal, which the Congress claimed was against the country’s interest and encouraged crony capitalism. Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s attack, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar claimed the poll outcome had actually jolted the Congress. He said the Congress tried to adopt divisive politics in Gujarat. However, people put their faith in Modi and in his development agenda, he said. "It seems Rahul is under an illusion and enjoying defeat as victory. This shows his dynastic arrogance and is an insult to the people’s mandate."