Parliament is on the boil over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks targeting his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the recently concluded Gujarat election campaign.
Parliament is on the boil over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks targeting his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the recently concluded Gujarat election campaign. PM Modi had quoted media reports alleging a “secret” meeting of Congress leaders including Manmohan Singh with Pakistani officials at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence ahead of the Gujarat elections. However, the Congress clarified there was nothing “secret” about the meeting and Gujarat election was not at all discussed at Aiyar’s home. Even Manmohan Singh had issued a statement, attacking Modi for spreading “falsehood” and “canards”.
Gujarat elections are now over but the dust of election campaign is still unsettled as the Congress party has taken up the issue in Parliament, seeking an apology from Modi. On Wednesday, proceedings in both Houses of Parliament were disrupted by Congress members over insinuations made by Modi against Singh. In Rajya Sabha, Congress leaders rushed into the Well of the House even as Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu repeatedly reminded them of their conduct but his pleas went unheeded, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings. Similarly, in the Lok Sabha, the House was adjourned for an hour as the Congress members once again raked up the issue of Modi’s comments against Singh.
As the stalemate continues over remarks made by Modi against Singh, a question arises: Should statements made by politicians in election rallies be discussed in Parliament? If a trend like this starts, then every other day some MPs would start seeking an apology from others and stall the Parliament. In this case, even Modi and BJP may have many issues on which they would like to seek a formal apology from the opposition.
It needs to be understood that comments and personal attacks fly during the election campaign. The beauty of Indian democracy lies in the fact that leaders have so far not taken the campaign heat beyond the day of election results. The recent example of this is the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections which were no less vitriolic than Gujarat and all contesting groups were equally at fault. Among top leaders, PM Modi had left no opportunity to attack incumbent CM Akhilesh Yadav and his then election partner Rahul Gandhi. Akhilesh had mocked Modi-Amit Shah duo as ‘Gujarat ke Gadhdhe (donkeys). A few months before the UP elections, even Rahul Gandhi had alleged Modi was doing “khoon ki dalali” with the blood of Indian soldiers. However, after the polls, Akhilesh was seen meeting Modi on stage during the oath-taking ceremony of Yogi Adityanath as UP Chief Minister.
It is time for the Congress to leave Gujarat behind and move on for future battles. Even Manmohan Singh should step in as the stalemate in the Parliament helps none. More so because the Congress had avenged Modi’s attack on the day when Singh released his statement.
In his statement against Modi’s remarks, Singh had questioned Modi’s patriotism.
“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,” Singh had said.
Singh had also declared that his track record was unquestionable. “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,” he said. If his track record is unquestionable, shouldn’t Singh tell Congress to stop protesting in his name?