Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday sought to clarify that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not questioned the commitment of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Vice President Hamid Ansari to the ‘nation.’
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, “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.”
The Congress has been disrupting the Rajya Sabha demanding an apology from the prime minister for his comments made about Singh and Ansari during the assembly elections campaign in Gujarat.
Addressing a rally in Gujarat, Modi had said, “There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh.”
Responding to his statement, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “I want to thank the Leader of the House that he issued a clarification on the issue which was causing the deadlock.”
“If during the elections, any member of our party gave such a statement that was against the stature of the prime minister, then our party dissociates itself from any such statement and we would not want any word to be said against the stature of the prime minister,” Azad said.
The Congress had suspended Aiyar from its primary membership and slapped a show cause notice on him for calling Modi a “neech kisam ka aadmi” or a lowly type of person.
After the two statements, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu thanked all members of the House for their cooperation in resolving the stalemate.
However, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal stood up to object, charging that the fate of the proceedings in the House could not be decided based on statements by only two people.
To this, Naidu said, “We discussed it in the morning in the business advisory committee. Every member of the House is important. Let us not sidetrack the issue”.
Modi had sensationally alleged that Pakistan was interfering with Gujarat elections. To support his allegations, he had said that few Congress leaders had held a meeting in Delhi with Pakistani officials to work out a strategy to ensure BJP’s defeat in Gujarat.
The meeting indeed had taken place at the suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. But those who attended the meeting included Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Former army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor and former Pakistani foreign minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.
General (retired) Deepak Kapoor had later exposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘lies’ during an election rally in Gujarat. Confirming that that he was part of the meeting at Aiyar’s residence, General Kapoor had said, “Yes, I was part of the meeting and we discussed nothing more than India-Pakistan relations.”