ALSO READModi ridicules Rahul's rise, wants Gujarat to dump Congress: 10 highlights Manmohan says PM should apologise for false statements on Pak-poll link Modi flays Congress, assures traders on GST in Gandhinagar: Key highlights Gujarat election 2017 date declared: How Modi used delay to keep BJP ahead Aiyar's derogatory remarks against PM puts Congress on the defensive
A "deeply pained and anguished" former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of spreading "falsehood and canards" in a desperate bid to win the Gujarat election and asked him to "apologize to the nation". In an unusually hard-hitting statement, Manmohan Singh denied allegations by Modi that he and others, including former Vice President Hamid Ansari and former Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor, invited to a dinner at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's residence with Pakistani diplomats, discussed the Gujarat election. Here's what Manmohan Singh said: 1. Anguished by falsehood being spread to score political points "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 ... Modi," Manmohan Singh said. 2. Modi fears Gujarat defeat Manmohan Singh: Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, the desperation of the Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. ALSO READ: Spare us, says Pak as Modi rips Cong for scheming with it in Gujarat polls 3. Modi setting dangerous precedent Manmohan Singh: Sadly and regrettably, 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 4. Gujarat issue was not even raised at Aiyar's dinner meeting "I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Aiyar as alleged by Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner," Manmohan Singh said. 5. Manmohan Singh said, "The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations" 6. Congress needs no sermon on nationalism Manmohan Singh said the Congress needed "no sermons on 'nationalism' from a party and Prime Minister whose compromised track record on fighting terrorism is well known. "Let me remind 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." 7. Hope Modi shows maturity expected of a Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went on: "I sincerely hope that the 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. 8. Modi must apologise "I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the nation for his ill-thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies." 9. Manmohan Singh reveals list of participants Manmohan Singh made public the guest list at Aiyar's in Delhi.
Those present included former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, former Foreign Secretary Salman Haider, former High Commissioners of India to Pakistan T. C. A. Raghavan, Satinder K. Lambah, Sharad Sabharwal and M. K. Bhadrakumar and India's former Permanent Representative to the UN, C. R. Gharekhan. Also present in the meeting were academician Kanti Bajpai and journalists Prem Shankar Jha, Ajai Shukla and Rahul Singh.10. The statement follows Modi's allegations at an election rally in Gujarat that guests at Aiyar's house, including Manmohan Singh, Ansari and Gen. Kapoor, discussed the Gujarat polls with Pakistan's High Commissioner to India and a former Pakistani Foreign Minister, Khurshid Kasuri, among others, suggesting that the Congress was conspiring with Pakistani leaders to prevent the BJP from winning the election in the state. "(On one hand) Pakistan Army's former DG is interfering in Gujarat's election and on the other Pakistani people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar's house," Modi said. The BJP fielded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to rebut Manmohan Singh's charge, saying that the former Prime Minister should admit that engaging with Pakistan at this moment was a "misadventure" for which he should apologize instead of demanding one from Modi. Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram in a tweet said: "Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh is absolutely right in demanding an apology for the outrageous allegation made yesterday against the former Vice President (Hamid Ansari) and former Prime Minister and other distinguished former civil servants."