BJP rubbishes PM's remark on 'death wish'

Updated on Aug 17, 2007 10:34 PM IST

Jaitely rubbishes the PM's claim of the “non-existent havans” organised against him, reports Shekhar Iyer.

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Hindustan Times | ByShekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has claimed that some BJP leaders had wished death for him and even did havans.

In an interview to the India Today news magazine, the PM said, “They didn’t even believe I would last as the Prime Minister and some leaders even did havans that I should die on a certain day. But I have faith on higher force. I believe it was my destiny to be PM. I have the courage of conviction."

The interview was given while he was returning from G-8 summit in June with the understanding it will come out only when the 123 Agreement is signed.

It was released on a day that saw a furore in Parliament over remarks made by NDA convenor George Fernandes against him, in which he said the PM "betrayed" the nation by his "continuous bluff" and if it was China, they would have shot him in the head by a bullet.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitely rubbished the PM’s claim, saying that it had taken the PM three long years to discover the “non-existent havans” organised against him. “The BJP treats the PM as a political opponent and not an enemy. We wish him a very long life. May he live long and see after his tenure comes to an end how India is governed much better by others after him.”

Jaitley also said the PM must acknowledge that the BJP also had a role in shaping his destiny. “Had we not vehemently opposed the first choice of the Congress, Dr. Manmohan Singh as the second preference would have never made to office.”

Backing the PM, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said, “Our PM is not given to exaggeration or hyperbole; indeed, he practices understatement. We should not be surprised since it took the BJP-NDA more than 18 months to digest their departure from power in May 2004 and their fall from the dreamland of India Shining.”

During that period, he said, every few weeks we had predictions and astrological constellations about the UPA government’s imminent demise. “Secondly, we have a two-day old example from the supposed NDA convenor George Fernandes applying the bullet analogy for the PM. Last but not the least, the BJP-NDA has a respectful lineage of disrespect towards constitutional functionaries: from the CEC to the judiciary to the PM. So why should you be surprised?’’

Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi condemned Fernandes’s remarks, saying, “It was an unfortunate, uncivilised and unparliamentary comment made by the NDA convenor. The statement encourages elements who create security hazards."

Though the NDA was embarrassed by Fernandes’ remark, BJP’s Sushma Swaraj refused to condemn it. She said he had spoken out of “anguish.”

But Fernandes responded by saying, "Why should I apologise? What I have said in the statement (yesterday) is that the way our Prime Minister had spoken lies, had an American President done that he would have been removed. And had someone done that in China, he would have been shot dead by a bullet," he said.

Fernandes also released copies of a letter he had written to Lok Sabha Speaker in which, he alleged that Sonia Gandhi encouraged her party members to shout “kafan chor kursi chodh” against him when he was the defence minister, alleging a scam in the purchase of coffins for soldiers killed in the Kargil war.

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