The Congress on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the Constitution and the dignity of his office by not acting against those behind “conspiracy with Pakistan”, a charge he made against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat poll campaign. It said Modi should at least clarify his remark which he allegedly used to “win” the Gujarat election, saying had it been Atal Behari Vajpayee as prime minister, he could have apologised 10 times.
The party also alleged that Modi was trying to break the country and blemish the image of his predecessor. It earlier demanded an apology from the prime minister. The Congress earlier created an uproar in both the Houses of Parliament and disrupted proceedings. While the day’s work in the Rajya Sabha was washed out, its members in the Lok Sabha staged a walkout and boycotted the lower house post-lunch.
“The prime minister is trying to break the country and blemish the image of good people,” senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters outside Parliament. He said if the prime minister had information about a “secret meeting” between senior Congress leaders and the Pakistan envoy and its ex-foreign minister which was “anti-national”, then why did he not use the Intelligence Bureau and other agencies at his disposal.
“If you had proof, you should have lodged an FIR against former prime minister Manmohan Singh and arrested him. You are tarnishing his image and questioning his nationalism. If the prime minister had proof, why did he not take the services of intelligence agencies if there was something anti-national. He has thereby violated the oath of secrecy he has taken…If it was not in the nation’s interest and was anti-national, then you have violated the Constitution and the ‘maryada’ (dignity) of office,” he alleged.
The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said opposition parties have demanded that the prime minister clarifies the serious allegation he made during the Gujarat election about a “secret” meeting between the Pakistan envoy and an ex-foreign minister and Manmohan Singh, former vice president Hamid Ansari and an ex-Indian Army chief.
“When the country’s prime minister publicly accuses Manmohan Singh of conspiring with Pakistan then it is a very serious allegation and he should clarify. If he has a problem in seeking an apology, then the prime minister should say that to win the Gujarat election he threw a stunt, a “gola” (ball). It is acceptable to us,” he said.
Azad said had Vajpayee been there (as prime minister), “he would have apologised 10 times. It depends on who is the prime minister”. “If the prime minister is taking his words back, we will accept that too. Then he need not apologise. He should only say that he said it to win the Gujarat election,” he said.
Azad said Modi should state in Parliament that the BJP was losing in Gujarat and it had no other option but to “concoct” the story of “conspiracy with Pakistan”, seek public sympathy and portray Congress leaders as anti-national. “Let the prime minister say and admit that his job is done and now the BJP has won the election, hence I take back my words. We will accept that. The one who has levelled allegations, should explain. If there is truth in his allegations, the people concerned be punished. We are ready for it,” he said.
“It is the culture of the BJP to abuse, call people anti-national, beat them, fire bullets at them. This has become an order of the day,” he alleged. “There is only one way in a democracy and that is Parliament. The prime minister and the former prime minister, who is facing the allegation, both are members of Parliament,” he said, adding that Modi should clarify in Parliament.