With the Gujarat elections in full swing, PM Narendra Modi during campaigning on December 10 alleged that the outcome of the Gujarat election is being manipulated by Pakistan.
He further said that in a ‘secret’ meeting at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence, the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met officials from Pakistan and conspired to make Ahmad Patel the chief minister of Gujarat.
To the said allegation the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement and demanded an apology from Narendra Modi for his baseless remarks.
Everything is Pakistan’s fault
“There were media reports about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house in which Pakistan’s High Commissioner, Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister, India’s former Vice-President and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were present,” said Narendra Modi at an election rally at Palanpur in north Gujarat, scheduled to vote in the second phase on December 14.
He alleged that Mani Shankar Aiyar’s calling Modi ‘neech’ (a lowly person), came only after that meeting with Pakistani officials, where Dr Manmohan Singh was also present. Modi hinted at Pakistani influence regarding Aiyar’s comment. He said,
On one hand, Pakistan Army’s former DG is interfering in Gujarat’s election, on the other, Pakistani people are holding a secret meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house and immediately after the meeting, people of Gujarat, backward communities, poor people and Modi were insulted. Don’t you think such events raise doubts here.
In his speech, he also alleged that former director general (DG) of the Pakistan Army Sardar Arshad Rafiq appealed to the Congress senior leader Ahmed Patel to be made Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Following Modi’s speech, Amit Shah addressed the media at Gandhinagar and claimed that former Vice President Hamid Ansari was present in the meeting and the Ministry of External Affairs was not notified accordingly.
Baseless allegations says Congress
“Holding the country’s topmost post, Modiji is making baseless allegations. Modiji is worried, dejected, angry. Such behaviour is unbecoming of a Prime Minister,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi.
He also questioned why did Modi make an “unplanned” visit to Pakistan for Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding days after “Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attacks at Gurdaspur and Udhampur”.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement on Monday refuting the baseless allegations and also mentioned the people present in the meeting and the topic of discussion amongst them.
He said that he sincerely hoped that Narendra Modi will apologise for hinting that they were meeting to alter the outcome of the Gujarat elections.
In the statement, Dr Manmohan Singh said,
I am deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by none less than Prime Minister, Sh. Narender Modi. Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. Sadly & 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 also pointed out that he needed “no sermons on nationalism” from someone ”whose compromised track record on fighting terrorism is well known,” and he also hinted at Modi’s “uninvited” visit to Pakistan for Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding.
“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.
Dr Manmohan Singh also made it clear that Gujarat elections or any political issue related to India was not discussed and the discussion was completely based on India-Pakistan relationships. Read the full statement below.
One of the people present in the meeting, Sharat Sabharwal, a former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan from 2009-2013, and deputy high commissioner from 1995-1999, said: “It was only a discussion on India and Pakistan relations, in the nature of many such discussions. There was nothing to do with the internal political scenario.”
Rahul Singh, writer and journalist, who was also present at the meeting said that he was “appalled” and that “there was no mention whatsoever of India’s domestic politics, nor of the Gujarat election”.
The Logical Indian Take
The Logical Indian sincerely hopes that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not allege things he cannot prove just to manipulate and win an election. He holds the highest office in the country and thus has the power to influence people’s minds. But, baseless allegations as such not only reduces his gravitas but also tarnishes the image of the country as a whole.