Modi’s allegation of Pakistan role in Gujarat polls sparks war of words: Here’s what’s being said
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Modi’s allegation of Pakistan role in Gujarat polls sparks war of words: Here’s what’s being said

The prime minister had said Pakistan was trying to influence elections in Gujarat, pointed finger at Congress leaders.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2017 18:49 IST
Agencies, New Delhi
Gujarat assembly elections,Narendra Modi,Mani Shankar Aiyar
Supporters waer mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an election campaign rally in support of BJP candidates, in Sanand on Sunday.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that Pakistan was trying to influence the Gujarat elections, citing a meeting between Congress leaders and Pakistan’s High Commissioner at suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence in New Delhi, has drawn sharp reactions. Here is what is being said as the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attack each other in the Gujarat elections.

Manmohan Singh, Congress

“I am deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by none less than ... Modi,” said the former prime minister. “Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of the Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable.”

Rahul Gandhi, Congress

“The Prime Minister talks sometimes about Pakistan and sometimes about China and Japan. Modi ji, this is the election for the future of Gujarat. Talk something about Gujarat too,” says Congress leader at an election rally in Tharad assembly constituency of Banaskantha district. “During his entire speech half of the time he talks about Congress. You (Modi) claim that the country has been ‘Congress-free’ then why are you giving so much prominence to the Congress in your speeches?”

P Chidambaram, Congress

“Is winning an election so important that such allegations can be made against a former Prime Minister and a former Vice President,” says the former finance minister in a tweet. “The BJP’s campaign in Gujarat in the last few days, especially yesterday, has gone beyond bizarre. “Should a political party go to any length to win an election?

Anand Sharma, Congress

“Today Prime Minister, in his frustration and perceiving a clear defeat, wants to divert the attention of people. PM should take his words back and to maintain the dignity of his post, should apologise,” says former commerce minister in Delhi. “It is expected of the Prime Minister to be dignified in his discourse.”

Shiv Sena

The BJP ally criticises Modi for being “stuck in the Gujarat rut” and for his election speeches. “The PM chose to ignore the progress and developmental issues and stooped to mere ‘tu-tu, main-main’ (rhetoric) in his own home-state,” the Sena said in an editorial in its newspapers, Saamana and Dopahar Ka Saamana. The edit criticised Modi for his response to Aiyar’s “neech” (lowly) comment about him. Modi had said Aiyar’s comment was “an attack on Gujarati pride”.

“By such a statement, Modi made himself small... We always believed he stood for the ‘pride’ of the people and all the Hindus of the country, but he still remains stuck in the Gujarat rut.”

Shatrughan Sinha, BJP MP

Sinha, a dissident BJP leader, called Modi’s statement “incredible”. “Sir! Just to win elections anyhow, and that too at the fag end of the process, is it a must to come up with and endorse new, unsubstantiated and unbelievable stories everyday against political opponents?

“Now linking them to Pakistan High Commissioner and Generals?! Incredible!” Sinha said in a tweet.

Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson

Pakistan called Modi’s allegation “utterly baseless and irresponsible”. Faisal tweeted: “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.”

Ravi Shankar Prasad, law minister and senior BJP leader

Prasad rejected Pakistan’s statement and said Faisal was trying to “bail out” the Congress party. “Now it is whose turn to apologise? But what is curious is that this happens and Pakistan comes out with an official statement. In many ways seeking to bail out Congress party. Is it too suspicious? Surely, the country will draw its own conclusion.”

First Published: Dec 11, 2017 17:12 IST