Congress and BJP today closed ranks to slam Pakistan over its remark that a Narendra Modi government will "destabilise" peace in the region and warned it not to interfere in the country's electoral process.
A livid BJP, which is projected to be the single largest party in the Lok Sabha polls, also went on to remind Pakistan to "mend" its ways, saying the "manner" in which it has been functioning with India "will not work" anymore. The Congress said the remark was "condemnable and unfortunate".
The two parties came together while reacting to Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan's hawkish remark yesterday that Modi, if elected as India's Prime Minister, would "destabilise" regional peace.
Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, meanwhile, said Pakistan has an "interest" in the ongoing elections but "our assessment won't make a difference".
"Whoever forms the new government, we would definitely want to get along and solve the issues between the two nations," he told reporters in Mumbai. "You can vote for whomsoever you want. We want to start the peace dialogue with the new government as soon as possible," he added.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said Modi had never talked about attacking Pakistan and was instead questioning Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's attitude of making public the governments efforts to bring back underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who is stated to be in that coutnry.
"We will tell Islamabad to mend their ways, the manner in which they have been functioning and trying to work with India will not work," Lekhi said.
She said the Pakistani Minister had chosen to react to a statement of Modi which was critical of Indian Home Minister. India did not interfere in electoral politics or internal affairs of other countries and expected the same from them, she added.
"What I do not understand is, this person, Choudhary Nisar Ali Khan, who is the Interior Minister, is he admitting the presence of Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan?
"When a person of the opposition party and the incumbent Prime Minister is making some remarks about the internal working of the country, how is Pakistan affected with that," Lekhi told a press conference in Delhi.
Congress leader and Union Minister Manish Tewari said Khan's statement is very unfortunate, condemnable and the Pakistan government must do introspection on it.
He said Pakistan should hand over Dawood to India if he is taking shelter in that country.
"If such a person, against whom many serious charges were framed, is staying in Pakistan, it is the responsibility of the Pakistan government to hand him over to India," he added.