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Apologise, says Singh again after ‘frosty’ meet with PM

NEW DELHI:Former PM Manmohan Singh on Wednesday kept up his demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to the nation for suggesting that he, along with top retired public servants, had met Pakistani officials to influence the Gujarat elections.

Singh, who had written to the PM two days ago seeking an apology for spreading “falsehoods and canards”, renewed his attack in a video message, puncturing the impression of return of normalcy in ties generated by an awkward handshake he had with Modi at a function to pay tribute to martyrs of the Parliament attack earlier in the day.

Saying he was anguished by “falsehoods and canards” spread by Modi, Singh said, “I sincerely hope that he will apologise to the nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies… sadly and regrettably, Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office including that of a former PM and Army chief.”

The demand for apology stems from the allegation Modi made at a rally in Gujarat, claiming that Singh and former Vice-President Hamid Ansari met with Pakistani officials at the residence of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar to influence the Gujarat elections.

Singh’s repeat push for an apology appears interesting as the second and final phase of voting in Gujarat takes place on Thursday, and suggests that Congress is eager to underscore its anger with Modi ahead of the polling.

That the bitterness between Singh-Congress and Modi had softened gained impression after footage emerged of the function in Parliament where the BJP leader and the former PM, along with other parliamentarians, met on the 16th anniversary of the Parliament attack on Wednesday.

As the PM moved, he took the hand of his predecessor who stood with folded hands in greeting for the gathering. The contact appeared awkward, giving the impression that it was more out of compulsion of social niceties. The video went viral, inviting varied interpretations.

Rebutting Modi’s claims with uncharacteristic aggression, Singh has said on Monday that his public service over five decades spoke for itself as did that of Congress. “Congress needs no sermons on nationalism from a party and PM whose compromised track record on fighting terrorism is well known. Let me remind Modi that he had gone to Pakistan uninvited after the terrorist attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur,” the former PM said.

Earlier, he had released a list of participants in the dinner at Aiyar’s residence which included top retired diplomats, army chief and journalists. He said the conversation at the dinner was limited to Indo-Pakistan relations and Gujarat elections were not discussed.

Source : timesofindia



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