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Did not offer to resign, 'disgust' tweet aimed at media, says VK Singh

Putting to rest all speculation of his resigning as Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh said on Tuesday night that he had complete faith in government and Prime Minister and had attended Pakistan National Day dinner thrown by envoy Abdul Basit at the Pakistan High Commission here as a pure diplomatic exercise.


Did not offer to resign, 'disgust' tweet aimed at media, says VK Singh

New Delhi: Putting to rest all speculation of his resigning as Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh said on Tuesday night that he had complete faith in government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and described his attending the Pakistan National Day dinner thrown by envoy Abdul Basit at the Pakistan High Commission here as a pure diplomatic exercise.

He also clarified that series of tweets on 'duty' and 'disgust' that he had posted on micro-blogging website Twitter yesterday night was aimed at a section of the media and did not in any way relate to the government asking him to go to Basit's dinner.

Addressing a brief press conference, the minister said, "When in May 2014 I took over as minister, I was aware of my duties and responsibilities. I have also been a loyal soldier of the country. Attending Pak Day dinner was a protocol and just a diplomatic exercise that every Minister of State of External Affairs has followed in past. This was no different from what has happened in previous years."

He added, "The only difference was the optics as a former Army chief was attending the Pakistan Day dinner, though people forgot that he was a minister of state in the present government. Even though my party and government understood the issue, certain sections of the media was hyperventilating. Some said Army was demoralised, but as an former chief of Army staff I know my men better. I was shocked at the way certain section of the media attacked my PM and government. Also my tweets on duty and disgust was twisted."

Singh went on to add, "My tweets were only aimed at those sections of the media who had questioned my presence at the dinner. I feel it is important for me to clarify that. I am fully committed to my government and especially my PM. I am also a loyal member of the party. I stand in unison with my party in working for a better India. Nation comes first."

On rumours of his resignation he emphasised, "I have not made any such offer. Sometimes some people show something by concocting it on their own. Ask them from where this news has come."

On being asked as to why he had left the venue in 15 minutes or so, Singh said, "I have attended a lot of national day celebrations but haven’t eaten at any of these events. That is my set schedule. One, because I don’t have time, and second, because I am not very fond of eating."

"I met Abdul Basit, he said that he was happy that I had come for the celebrations," Singh revealed.

Earlier speculation was rife that Singh may resign after it was reported that the government was upset with him over the controversial tweets. A high-level meeting held at 7, Race Course Road, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, VK Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah added to the rumours.

Yesterday, after being questioned by certain sections of the media, Singh had said that he was asked by the government to represent it at the Pakistan National Day reception at the Pakistani High Commission.

The reception also saw Kashmiri separatist leaders like Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik in attendance.

"The Government of India has to sent an MoS. They sent me and I went there and came back," he had said replying to a question about his presence at the reception.

Asked specifically whether PM Modi asked him to attend the event at the Pakistani High Commission, he had said, "The Government of India asked me to go there."

However, what created controversy were a series of tweets on 'duty' and 'disgust' on the micro-blogging site that he posted later on. The tweets are as follows:

The Minister's visit to the Pakistani High Commission came on a day India and Pakistan sparred over Hurriyat leaders' meeting Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit with government making it clear that there was no role for a third party.

Chairman of Hurriyat Conference Farooq, along with Abdul Gani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Gani Lone, Aga Syed Hassan, Mussadiq Adil and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza had held talks with Basit on Sunday night.

Basit had said that India was not against these interactions. However, India hit out, saying "the government of India prefers to speak for itself".

Meanwhile, the Congress today said that Singh should be sacked for his rant on the Twitter.

"Government should sack him or he should act according to his conscience after the flip-flop-flip since yesterday," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters claiming that the Minister has shown his 'vote of no confidence' against the government by expressing his 'disgust'.

On the other hand Congress' Manish Tiwari tweeted today: "If Mr duty disgust is so disgusted with double standards of his government on Pakistan he should quit? Other ministers in past refused to attend Pakistan events."

(With Agency inputs)

From Zee News

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