Modi criticises PM for not voting, Congress hits back

Modi criticises PM for not voting, Congress hits back

Though the voting in Assam's Dispur constituency, where Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur are registered voters, took place on April 11 in the second final phase of the state elections, Modi brought up the issue while speaking to media persons at a function in Gandhinagar Thursday.

"At a time when the country is celebrating the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, I feel saddened to learn that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not vote in the assembly elections in Assam," Modi said, talking to media persons at a seminar at the Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University.

"Babasaheb Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution, ensured for every citizen the right to vote. To know that the prime minister did not vote in the assembly polls is very saddening for the people of the country," he said, adding "that this should happen on his birth anniversary is all the more painful".

Responding to Modi's comments, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said the prime minister of a country of India's size has "legitimate preoccupations".

"It does not require very much of intelligence to understand that a PM of the size of the country that India is, obviously has legitimate preoccupations...I don't think it really serves the BJP or the CM of Gujarat to really be raising issues which are completely devoid of substance," Tewari said in New Delhi.

He said the prime minister's contribution to nation building has to be seen in a holistic perspective.

"He very actively campaigned in Assam and has taken personal interest in development of the state," Tewari said.

Manmohan Singh is a Rajya Sabha member from Assam. Elections to the 126-member Assam assembly took place April 4 and 11. The results will be declared May 13.