New Delhi: Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that he and several top Congress leaders had held a secret meeting with the Pakistani establishment, Manmohan Singh on Monday said he was anguished by the falsehoods being spread to score political points ahead of the Gujarat election.
“Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable,” he said, adding that no one, including Modi can question his track record.
“My track record of public service over five decades is known to everybody. No one, including Modi, can lamely question it to gain lost political ground,” the former Prime Minister said.
He also demanded an apology from Narendra Modi for accusing him of secretly meeting with Pakistani officials.
He said the PM was “setting a dangerous precedent” by trying to tarnish the image of every constitutional office, including that of the Prime Minister and the Army Chief.
Manmohan Singh's outbursts came a day after Prime Minister Modi alleged that a day before Mani Shankar Aiyar made the "neech" slur against him last Thursday, the Gujarat elections were discussed at the dinner he hosted for former Pakistan foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's visit.
Among others who attended the dinner include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former vice president Hamid Ansari, Pakistan High Commisioner, former foreign minister K Natwar Singh, former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor, former diplomats Salman Haider, Satinder Lambah, TCA Raghavan, Sharat Sabharwal, Chinmaya Gharekhan and senior journalists including Prem Shankar Jha and Rahul Khushwant Singh.
The guests denied that domestic politics figured at all in discussions with Pakistani leaders after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charge that Islamabad is trying to meddle in the Gujarat election.
"It was entirely devoted to talking about relations between India and Pakistan. Inevitably, cross-border terrorism came up and Kashmir came up but no one, I am 100 per cent sure, not a single person talked about either Gujarat elections or the domestic situation in India or for that matter, the domestic situation in Pakistan," Gharekhan said.
Manmohan Singh's response came hours after senior BJP leader and Patna Sahib MP Shaturghan Sinha accused Prime Minister Modi of "fabricating stories" to malign the opposition.
"Hon'ble Sir! Just to win elections anyhow, and that too at the fag end of the process, is it a must to come up with & endorse new, unsubstantiated & unbelievable stories everyday against political opponents? Now linking them to Pak High Commissioner & Generals?! Incredible!", Sinha wrote in a message posted on Twitter this morning.
Sinha in the scathing attack on Modi also urged him to concentrate on the "Vikas Model" which brought him to power in 2014 General Elections. Sinha also reminded Modi of the promises he had made before coming to power.
"Sir! Instead of new twists & turns, stories & cover ups, let's go straight to the promises that we made, regarding housing, development, employment of youth, health, "Vikas model". Lets stop communalising the atmosphere & go back to healthy politics & healthy elections. Jai Hind!", Sinha wrote.