Friends, Foes and Shatrughan Sinha Question PM Narendra Modi's 'Pakistan Meddling' Theory
PM Narendra had claimed at an election rally in Gujarat that Congress leaders held a “secret meeting” with current and former Pakistani officials following which Mani Shankar Aiyar made the "neech" remark against him.
PM Narendra Modi being presented a sword by the supporters during an election campaign rally at Dhandhuka village of Ahmedabad district on December 6. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Rival Congress, ally Shiv Sena and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha on Monday launched separate but scathing attacks on PM Narendra Modi over his charge of Pakistan interfering in Gujarat elections via the Grand Old Party.
The PM had claimed at an election rally in Gujarat that Congress leaders held a “secret meeting” with current and former Pakistani officials following which Mani Shankar Aiyar made the "neech" remark against him.
"Pakistan Army's former DG is interfering in Gujarat's election. Pakistani people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar's house. After that meeting, people of Gujarat, backward communities, poor people and Modi were insulted. Don't you think such events raise doubts?" Modi said.
A day after the remark, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the PM, questioning why he was speaking about Pakistan, but not Gujarat.
“Elections are taking place in Gujarat. But the PM is busy talking about Pakistan. Modiji, speak about Gujarat at least once,” Gandhi said at a rally in Banaskantha on Monday. “He claims to have wiped out the Congress. But half of his speech is about Congress. The other half is about Modi himself.”
Refuting Modi’s charges, former Union minister Anand Sharma demanded that the PM retract the statement. “PM’s statements show the BJP has lost Phase 1 (of Gujarat elections). For the first time in India’s history, a PM has used such words against the Opposition. We want to ask the PM, since when is it a rule that we have to seek government’s permission for a dinner?” Sharma said at a press conference.
Modi also faced criticism from ally Shiv Sena and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha.
In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, the Sena accused PM Modi of resorting to "histrionics" and pulling the ongoing poll campaign for the Gujarat elections to "a new low".
The BJP ally said that Modi "dug up the graves of the Mughal regime" during his campaign, instead of speaking about "vikas" (development) – to target the Congress.
"The people of Gujarat had already rejected the Congress for 22 years for this very reason... The PM chose to ignore the progress and developmental issues and stooped to mere 'tu-tu, main-main (rhetoric)' in his own home-state."
Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, meanwhile, took to Twitter and questioned PM Modi on "unsubstantiated and unbelievable" stories against political opponents.
"Sir! Just to win elections anyhow, and that too at the fag end of the process, is it a must to come up with and endorse new, unsubstantiated and unbelievable stories every day against political opponents? Now linking them to Pakistan High Commissioner and Generals?! Incredible!" Sinha said in a tweet.
Hon'ble Sir! Just to win elections anyhow, and that too at the fag end of the process, is it a must to come up with & endorse new, unsubstantiated & unbelievable stories everyday against political opponents? Now linking them to Pak High Commissioner & Generals?! Incredible!.1>2— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) December 11, 2017
Sir! Instead of new twists & turns, stories & cover ups, let's go straight to the promises that we made, regarding housing, development, employment of youth, health, "Vikas model". Lets stop communalising the atmosphere & go back to healthy politics & healthy elections. Jai Hind!— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) December 11, 2017
Defending the PM, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad condemned the "unwarranted" statement by Pakistan on Gujarat elections and seemed to suggest that it was aimed at bailing out Congress party.
"Today a very curious statement has been released by Pakistan foreign office condemning Pakistan being dragged into India's election and stated that Indians must learn to fight the elections on their own. Yes, I wish to tell Pakistan that Indians are capable of contesting India's democracy on their own as they do... India's Prime Minister is a popularly elected PM and so is the BJP,” Prasad said.
Prasad said it was "curious" that Congress leader Anand Sharma had denied any meeting taking place at the residence of Aiyar.
"And in today's newspapers... It is very evident as to who attended the meeting including from Pakistan and even Manmohan Singh went to the get-together," he said. "Why a wrong statement was made by Anand Sharma completely denying that no such meeting took place."
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