NEW DELI: Union Finance Minister Arun Jailtey has now reacted to ex-PM Manmohan Singh’s sharp criticism of Narendra Modi regarding the meeting with Pakistanis in Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house.
Arun Jaitley reacted shortly after Manmohan Singh issued a statement where he had rejected PM Modi’s charges as ‘innuendos and falsehoods’. Jaitley said, ” Former PM Manmohan Singh has issued a statement asking PM Modi to apologise for what he said in an election rally with regard to a meeting involving Pakistani delegations. It is surprising that Congress party expect the Prime Minister of India to apologise for it”.
Arun Jaitley upped the ante by demanding that Congress must give a detailed ‘facts what transpired in that meeting & what was the necessity of having it in present circumstances’. He accuse Congress of changing goalposts in this entire incident. Jaitley said that yesterday there were on denial about it’ and are now saying it was a ‘misadventure’. He said that rather than giving full clarification they are trying to ‘blame those raising the issue’. Jaitley tried to corner Mani Shankar Aiyar accusing him of having inconsistent position regarding Pakistan. Union Finance Minister said, ”
Those like Mani Shankar Aiyar always had an inconsistent position. They maintained a parallel line of dialogue, underplayed Pakistan’s role in instigating terrorism in India & continued to engage with them (Pak)”, reports ANI.
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Addressing an election rally in Palanpur in Gujarat yesterday, Modi sought to suggest that Pakistan was trying to influence the assembly polls in the state. The second and final phase of Assembly polls in Gujarat is to be held on December 14. He claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6. This was a day before Aiyar’s “neech” jibe against Modi that led to his suspension from the party.
Singh issued a statement today, listing those who attended the dinner hosted in honour of the visiting former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. He said besides himself and former vice president Hamid Ansari, others present at Aiyar’s dinner hosted for Kasuri, were the Pakistan High Commissioner, Natwar Singh, K S Bajpai, Ajai Shukla, Sharad Sabharwal, Gen Deepak Kapoor, TCA Raghavan, Satinder K Lambah, M K Bhadrakumar, CR Gharekhan, Prem Shankar Jha, Salman Haider and Rahul Khushwant Singh.
“None of them could be accused of indulging in any anti- national activities,” he said.
Gen. Kapoor, a former Army Chief, was quoted as having said Gujarat elections were never discussed at the dinner meeting. In a strongly-worded statement, Manmohan Singh said he did not discuss the Gujarat Assembly elections with anyone at the dinner meeting. “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,” he said. Singh said he was “deeply pained and anguished” by the “falsehood and canards” being spread to score political points by the prime minister in what he said was a “lost cause” in Gujarat. “Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. Sadly and 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,” he alleged.
The Congress Party, Singh said, needs no sermons on “nationalism” from a party and prime minister, whose “compromised” track record on fighting terrorism is well known, while reminding Modi of his “uninvited” visit to Pakistan after 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,” he said. Claiming that his track record of public service to the country over the last five decades is known to all, he said no one, including Modi, can “lamely question it to gain lost political ground”.