New Delhi: Terming the meeting of Congress leaders with Pakistani officials as a “misadventure”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday hit back at former prime minister Manmohan Singh who demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology for making accusation of treason against Congress leaders.
“Former prime minsiter Manmohan Singh has issued a statement asking Prime Minister Modi to apologise for what he said in an election rally with regard to a meeting involving Pakistani delegations. It is surprising that a misadventure the Congress Party indulged in, to which some of its senior most leaders became a party, they should expect the Prime Minister of India to apologise for it,” Jaitley said in a joint press conference with fellow party member Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal.
Earlier in the day, Manmohan Singh dismissed Prime Minister Modi’s allegation about his and other party leaders’ meeting with Pakistani officials at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house with intentions to interfere in Gujarat elections, and said, “I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Shri Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner.”
Singh also demanded that the Prime Minister must apologise to the nation “for his ill thought transgression, to restore the dignity of the office he occupies.”
Responding to Singh’s statement, Jaitley said that Congress should give a detailed account of what transpired in the meeting.
“Congress must come out with detailed facts about what transpired in that meeting and what was the necessity of having it under present circumstances. Yesterday, they were in denial about it and today instead of accepting it as a misadventure, they try to blame those raising the issue,” Jaitley said.
The Finance Minister also condemned the former prime minister of being a party in the clandestine meeting.
“Those like Mani Shankar Aiyar have always had an inconsistent position, they maintain a parallel line of dialogue, they underplayed Pakistan’s role in instigating terrorism, and continue to engage with them. But that responsible sections of the Congress party should have become privy to that engagement is indeed worrisome,” Jaitley said.
He also hit back at Singh for questioning Centre’s response in regard with terrorism, and said that no past government has had a track record that the present government has when it comes to fighting terrorism.
In one of his campaign rallies yesterday, Prime Minister Modi alleged Pakistan’s interference in the Gujarat elections.
Claiming that Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former vice president Hamid Ansari met with Pakistan’s High Commissioner and Foreign Minister at Aiyar’s house just before the elections, the Prime Minister sought an explanation from the opposition. (ANI)