Jaitley hits back at Manmohan for seeking PM's apology

PM only flagged Cong misadventure, should he apologise for that, asks FM

Jaitley hits back at Manmohan for seeking PM's apology

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit out at former prime minister Manmohan Singh for seeking apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what he said was "flagging a political misadventure" by its senior leaders by engaging Pakistani leaders.

As an opposition party, the Congress, too, was expected not to engage Pakistani leaders as the current national policy was not to do business with Islamabad till terrorism from there stopped.

"An opposition party, particularly the principal opposition party, is also important in India's domestic politics. Therefore, when there's a national position on an issue, everyone is expected to maintain it."

He said those like former Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar always had an inconsistent position. "They maintained a parallel line of dialogue, underplayed Pakistan's role in instigating terrorism in India  and continued to engage with them (Pakistan)."

Jaitley said "senior Congress leaders must desist from such adventure and come out with detailed facts on what transpired in that meeting and what was the necessity of having it under present circumstances. Yesterday, they were in denial about it and, today, instead of accepting it as a misadventure, they are trying to blame those raising the issue. When we were in the opposition too, we have followed the government's policy in this regard."

He was responding to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who had earlier  in the day  accused Modi of spreading "falsehood and canards" about a meeting between Congress leaders and a former foreign minister of Pakistan and its envoy at suspended party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's house.

At a rally on Sunday, Modi had alleged that the "three-hour secret meeting" was attended by Pakistan's high commissioner, its former foreign minister, Manmohan Singh and former vice president Hamid Ansari.

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