Stalemate over PM's remarks against Manmohan seems to end

The stalemate over the "conspiracy with Pakistan" charge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh seemed to be ending today in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition and the ruling party decided to form a panel after agreeing to the Chair's suggestion for an amicable solution.

As the Congress insisted on Modi coming to the House to clarify the statement he made during poll campaign in Gujarat and its members raised slogans and sought an apology, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the opposition and the government to talk and resolve the stalemate over the prime minister's comments on his predecessor.

Raising the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the prime minister should come to the House and clarify on what he said, as his charges that his predecessor was "conspiring" with Pakistan was "a big issue."

Azad said allegations are levelled during elections but some are not good for democracy, politics and the country. "Such allegations are deadly for those against whom they are made," he said, adding that Manmohan Singh's integrity and loyalty to the country has been questioned.

"Is he the person who is conspiring against the Indian state? Is the former prime minister, former vice president not loyal to the country? These allegations are made by no less than the prime minister.

"The prime minister of India should come to the House and explain his remarks and if the former prime minister and others are proved wrong, then action should be taken against them," he told the House amid vociferous protests by Congress members who sought an apology from Modi.

Naidu said he had held an "informal meeting" this morning "my suggestion was it is not good for the country to see that the House is not running properly.

"I myself suggested, leaders of different parties were there. ... to Parliamentary Affairs Minister to speak to Leader of House Arun Jaitley, the Leader of Opposition and other seniors also and then find a way out to end this impasse, which is in the interest of the country," Naidu said.

He also said that for democracy and parliamentary system to function, both sides should come to an understanding and move forward. "All things can be internally discussed and seen that the House functions properly and dignity of Parliament should be maintained," he said.

Agreeing to the suggestion, Azad said, "Let the meeting be held under chairmanship of Leader of the House with all leaders of other opposition parties."

He said it was not a question of Congress party, as other opposition party leaders are equally concerned. "It is a matter of privilege. It should also be to the satisfaction of Manmohan Singh," he said.

Jaitley said "we will try and explore a solution out of that. I will certainly have the privilege to invite leaders of all my colleagues including LoP and we will try and discuss and find solution for this. We will try and do it today" and suggested the formation of a committee for the purpose.

Earlier, the chairman said Manmohan Singh had met him and expressed his concern, his feelings to him.

"I have talked to him and have understood what he meant. I have also received a note of what exactly what he said and also what the prime minister was sad by others, calling of names," he said, adding that the prime minister is the prime minister of the country and that has to be kept in mind by everybody.

Deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma said "We want the House to function and the dignity is also maintained. It is the PM's responsibility.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel