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Arun Jaitley Clarifies on PM Narendra Modi’s Remark on Manmohan Singh, Congress Agrees to Move On

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said the perception that PM Narendra Modi had insinuated a collusion between Manmohan Singh and Pakistani officials was “erroneous”.

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Updated:December 27, 2017, 3:07 PM IST
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Arun Jaitley Clarifies on PM Narendra Modi’s Remark on Manmohan Singh, Congress Agrees to Move On
Finance Minster Arun Jaitley speaks in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
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New Delhi: The BJP and the Congress appeared to leave the bitter Gujarat election campaign behind on Wednesday with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley issuing a clarification on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on predecessor Manmohan Singh.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said the perception that PM Modi had insinuated a collusion between Manmohan Singh and Pakistani officials was “erroneous”.

“The PM in his speeches didn't question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or former V-P Hamid Ansari. Any such perception is erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley’s statement came after days of stalemate in the Winter Session of Parliament over the issue, with Congress leaders demanding an apology from the Modi government.

Replying to Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad apparently distanced his party from the ‘chaiwala jibe’ made by Mani Shankar Aiyar against PM Modi.

“I thank the Leader of the House for clarification on what has been issue of contention. I, on behalf of my party, say that we disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM's dignity. Also, we don't want any such thing to be said in future,” Azad said.

Modi, during campaigning in the Gujarat Assembly polls, had claimed that during a dinner at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's house, the guests, including Manmohan Singh, discussed the Gujarat polls with Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood and former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.

In a strongly-worded statement a day later, Manmohan Singh had rejected the charge as "innuendos and falsehoods", saying he did not discuss the Gujarat Assembly elections with anyone at the dinner.

Wednesday’s rare truce, however, is unlikely to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament with Union Minister Ananthkumar Hegde’s remark on Constitution and Secularism kicking up a new row.
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