NEW DELHI: Facing opposition's ire over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks on Manmohan Singh and Hamid Ansari during Gujarat elections, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that the PM had no intention of questioning former PM and Vice President's integrity towards the nation.
"PM in his speeches didn't question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or former VP Hamid Ansari. Any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India," Jaitley informed the Upper House.
Modi, during campaigning in the Gujarat Assembly polls, Modi had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the Assembly polls in Gujarat. The PM had claimed that during a dinner at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's house, the guests, including Manmohan Singh, discussed the state polls with Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood and former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.
The Upper House has been witnessing repeated adjournments over Congress' demand of an apology or clarification from PM Modi on his allegations against his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
Taking strong objection to PM Modi's comments, Singh had asked the Prime Minister to apologise to the nation for alleging that he was conspiring with Pakistan for BJP’s defeat in the Gujarat polls. Rejecting the charge as “innuendos and falsehoods”, Singh said he was deeply pained by the prime minister’s “ill thought transgression“.
Singh had issued a statement, listing those who attended the dinner, and stressed that the election was not discussed during the meeting. “I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Modi.
“I sincerely hope that he will apologise to the Nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies,” Singh said in the statement.