A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi quoted media reports claiming some Congress leaders including former PM Manmohan Singh recently “secretly” met Pakistani high commissioner in Delhi, the latter has issued a full-page clarification. “There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh,” Modi told an election rally at Palanpur, adding, the meeting at Aiyar’s house continued for almost three hours/ Modi further said, “the next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi is “neech” (a vile man). This is a serious matter.”
“(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 his response, Singh has accused Modi of spreading falsehood and canards.
Here is the full text of Manmohan Singh’s reply to Modi:
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 Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi. Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. Sadly& regrettably, Sh 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.
The Congress Party needs no sermons on “Nationalism” from a party and Prime Minister, whose compromised track record, on fighting terrorism is well known. Let me remind Sh Narendra 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 Pakistan Pathankot to investigate a terror attack that emanated from Pakistan.
Statement from Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on the falsehoods being spread to score political points, in a lost cause by PM Modi. pic.twitter.com/X20X3oeeYw
— Congress (@INCIndia) December 11, 2017
My track record of public service to the country over last five decades is known to everyone. No one, including Sh. Modi, can lamely question it to gain lost political ground. I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Shri Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner.
The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations. Names of the distinguished Indian public servants and journalists present at the dinner are enclosed to this statement. None of them could be accused of indulging in any anti-national activities.
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.
These people attended the meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence, according to Manmohan Singh:
1-2: Mr & Mrs Mani Shankar Aiyar
3. Khursid Kasuri
4. M. Hamid Ansari
5. Dr Manmohan Singh
6. K Natwar Singh
7. KS Bajpai
8. Ajai Shukla
9. Sharad Shabharwal
10. Gen Deepak Kapoor
11. TCA Raghavan
12. Sati Lambah
13. Pakistan H.C.
14. MK Bhadrakumar
15. CR Gharekhan
16. Prem Shankar Jha
17. Salman Haider
18. Rahul Khuswant Singh