New Delhi: The war of words between the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress continued on Wednesday, both inside and outside Parliament, over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “conspiracy with Pakistan” remarks.
The Congress, along with other opposition members, stalled both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, storming the Well in both Houses and demanding an apology from Modi for the statements against his predecessor, Manmohan Singh, during the Gujarat election campaign.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said Modi should only say that he said it to win the Gujarat election.
The BJP, meanwhile, said the Prime Minister had not uttered a single word for which he need apologise and accused the Congress of venting frustration of its defeat in the assembly polls by stalling Parliament.
Ahead of the second phase of voting in the Gujarat campaign, Modi had alleged that Pakistan was trying to influence the assembly elections and that the discussion took place at a secret dinner meeting at the house of former Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar where Singh, former vice president Hamid Ansari and an ex-Indian Army chief was present with the Pakistan envoy and a former Pakistan foreign minister.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters that it’s the Congress that should come clean on the dinner meeting as its leader Anand Sharma had first denied any such event before accepting it. He also said that Congress leaders, including its former chief Sonia Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka and many others, had humiliated Modi on multiple occasions and the opposition party never tendered an apology to him.
But the Congress said Modi should at least clarify his remark which he allegedly used to “win” the Gujarat election, saying had it been Atal Behari Vajpayee as prime minister, he would have apologised 10 times.
“The prime minister is trying to break the country and blemish the image of good people,” senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters outside Parliament.
He said if Modi had information about a “secret meeting” between senior Congress leaders and the Pakistan envoy and its ex- foreign minister, which was “anti-national”, then why did he not use the Intelligence Bureau and other agencies at his disposal.
Azad said opposition parties have demanded that the prime minister clarify the serious allegation.
“When the country’s prime minister publicly accuses Manmohan Singh of conspiring with Pakistan then it is a very serious allegation and he should clarify. If he has a problem in seeking an apology, then the prime minister should say that to win the Gujarat election he threw a stunt, a “gola” (ball). It is acceptable to us,” said Azad.
He said had Vajpayee been there (as prime minister), “he would have apologised 10 times. It depends on who is the prime minister”.
“If the prime minister is taking his words back, we will accept that too. Then he need not apologise. He should only say that he said it to win the Gujarat election,” he said.
Azad said Modi should state in Parliament that the BJP was losing in Gujarat and it had no other option but to “concoct” the story of “conspiracy with Pakistan”, seek public sympathy and portray Congress leaders as anti-national.
“Let the prime minister say and admit that his job is done and now the BJP has won the election, hence I take back my words. We will accept that. The one who has levelled allegations, should explain. If there is truth in his allegations, the people concerned be punished. We are ready for it,” he said.
“It is the culture of the BJP to abuse, call people anti-national, beat them, fire bullets at them. This has become an order of the day,” he alleged.
“There is only one way in a democracy and that is Parliament. The prime minister and the former prime minister, who is facing the allegation, both are members of Parliament,” he said, adding that Modi should clarify in Parliament.