Modi should apologise for Pakistan collusion remark: Congress

Modi should apologise for Pakistan collusion remark: Congress

The Congress party has demanded an apology from Prime Minister Nadendra Modi for accusing former vice president Hamid Ansari and former prime minister Manmohan Singh of hatching a conspiracy against him in collusion with Pakistan.

Hitting out at Modi for dragging the political discourse to a new low, Congress leaders said the BJP campaign for the Gujarat assembly election was "beyond bizzare".

"Should a political party go to any length to win an election? Is winning an election so important that such allegations can be made against a former prime minister and a former vice president," senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said during a press conference.

Congress's senior spokesperson Anand Sharma demanded that Modi retract his comments and tender an apology to the nation for casting aspersions against Singh and Ansari.

Addressing an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday, Modi had suggested that Pakistan was "interfering" with the election process in Gujarat. The prime minister had claimed that suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had hosted a dinner for former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mohammad Kasuri where Gujarat elections were discussed. The dinner was attended by Ansari, Singh and former Army chief Deepak Kapoor.

"Since when do we have to take permission to attend dinners," Sharma, a former Union minister, said. He said that Aiyar had hosted the dinner for Kasuri, who was in the capital along with his wife to attend a wedding.

Sharma said the Congress was winning the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections hands down, which had rattled the prime minister and BJP president Amit Shah. "We are winning 45-50 seats of the 89 that went to polls in the first phase," he said.

Pakistan's foreign office also dismissed Modi's claims. "India should stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate and win victories on own strength rather than fabricated conspiracies, which are utterly baseless and irresponsible,"  Pakistan foreign office said  on Twitter.

As Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at Pakistan, Sharma said he had demanded a retraction and apology from the prime minister and not from Prasad.

The Congress also dared the prime minister to snap ties with Pakistan if he was convinced of their interference in the electoral processes in India.

"The prime minister should maintain the dignity of his office. He has been misleading the country time and again," the Congress leader said demanding that Modi should come out clean on what transpired during his famous visit to Pakistan to greet the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday in 2015.

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