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13 Dec 2017

Singh to Modi: Apologise

Anita Joshua, TT, New Delhi: The normally unflappable Manmohan Singh went for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's jugular a day after being practically accused of treachery by a rival who has for years taunted him without attracting much in the way of retaliation.
In a cutting but polite response, the former Prime Minister accused his successor of setting a "dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former Prime Minister and army chief".
"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. I sincerely hope that he will apologise to the nation for his ill-thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies," Singh said in a one-page statement.
Modi had on Sunday insinuated that Singh had had a secret meeting with the Pakistani high commissioner and a former Pakistani foreign minister at party colleague Mani Shankar Aiyar's home, where Islamabad pushed for Congress leader Ahmed Patel being made Gujarat chief minister. Former army chief Deepak Kapoor was among the guests.
Singh's statement reflected barely concealed anger at the "falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by none less than Prime Minister Sh. Narender (sic) Modi".
Although Singh had delivered a scathing indictment of the demonetisation in Parliament last year, it lacked the anger evident in Monday's statement.
"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. Narender Modi that he had gone to Pakistan uninvited after the terrorist attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur," Singh said.
"Let him also tell the country the reason for inviting the infamous ISI of Pakistan to our strategic airbase in Pathankot to investigate a terror attack that emanated from Pakistan."
Singh, who makes it a point to avoid talking about himself, made an exception in the statement, saying: "My track record of public service to the country over (the) last five decades is known to everyone. No one, including Sh. Modi, can lamely question it to gain lost political ground."
He rejected "the innuendos and falsehoods" about what happened at the dinner, which the Congress has clarified was a social gathering of friends.
Singh said he had not discussed the Gujarat elections with anyone at the dinner. "Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner. The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations."
He enclosed with his statement the names of the "distinguished Indian public servants" and journalists present at the dinner, asserting that "none of them could be accused of indulging in any anti-national activities".

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