Don't need sermons, apologise: Manmohan tells Modi

Don't need sermons, apologise: Manmohan tells Modi
An unusually combative former prime minister Manmohan Singh hit out at his successor Narendra Modi telling him that the Congress needed "no sermons on nationalism" from a person and party that had made compromises in fight against terrorism.

In a scathing statement, Singh asked Prime Minister Modi to apologise to the nation for his "ill-thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies."

The sharp rebuttal from Singh came a day after Modi accused him and the Congress of conspiring against the BJP by holding "secret meetings" with Pakistani officials a day before Mani Shankar Aiyar's "neech" remarks against the prime minister.

Singh rejected outright Modi's allegations as "innuendoes and falsehoods". "I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner," the former prime minister said.

"Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of the prime minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. Sadly & regrettably, Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former prime minister and Army Chief," Singh said in a statement here.

"My track record of public service to the country over the last five decades is known to everyone. No one, including Modi, cam lamely question it to gain lost political ground," Singh said.

Singh reminded Modi of his "uninvited" visit to Lahore in 2015 after the terror attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur and asked him to give reasons for inviting an official of the ISI to the Pathankot Air Base to investigate a Pakistan-based terror attack.

Congress leaders Anand Sharma and P Chidambarm also hit out at Modi for "dragging the political discourse to a new low" describing the BJP campaign for Gujarat election as "beyond bizzare".

"Since when do we have to take permission to attend dinners," Sharma asked at a press conference here.

The aggression displayed by the former prime minister also comes at a time when he has hit the campaign trail in Gujarat by addressing meetings and holding press conferences on demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax, which were highlighted as key election issues.

Singh said he hoped Modi to show "maturity and gravitas" expected of the high office he held instead of "concentrating his energy solely on erroneously conceived brownie points".

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