Deadlock over Modi's remarks ends

Deadlock over Modi's remarks ends

The deadlock in Parliament over the prime minister's remarks about Manmohan Singh blew over on Wednesday with the government making it clear that there was no intention to question the commitment of the country's leaders.

The resolution came after a series of meetings between Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad since the beginning of the Winter Session on December 15.

However, this bonhomie is likely to be short-lived as another crisis stares at the government, with the Congress-led Opposition likely to vociferously take up Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde's controversial remarks about changing the Constitution.

As the session re-assembled for the post-noon session after it was adjourned in the morning due to protests over the Hegde issue, Jaitley said the government does not want the stalemate to continue over statements made during elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his statements "did not question the commitment to this nation either by Dr Manmohan Singh, the former prime minister, or Hamid Ansari, the former vice president. Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem, as also their commitment to this nation," Jaitley said.

During the Gujarat poll campaign, Modi had referred to a dinner meeting hosted by Manishankar Aiyar in honour of Pakistan's former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri at his residence, saying the neighbouring country was plotting with Congress to dethrone the BJP government in Gujarat.

Singh and Ansari were among those who attended the dinner.

Azad thanked the leader of the House that he issued a clarification on the issue which was causing a deadlock for the last one week.

He also said the Congress dissociates itself from any statement made against the personality of the prime minister, apparently a reference to those made by Aiyar.

"If during the elections, any member of our party gave such a statement that was against the stature of the prime minister, then our party dissociates itself from any such statement and we would not want any word to be said against the stature of the prime minister," Azad said.

Later, speaking to reporters, Azad said the Congress did not want to stretch the issue beyond a week as there were other matters that needed to be put before Parliament.

"The prime minister should never even think about a former prime minister and a former vice president in this way. Perhaps the prime minister has now realised that he took the aid of Pakistan to win the (Gujarat) elections," Azad said.

He said that  Congress treated the prime minister's remarks as a " big insult" to a party that gave the country its independence.

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