Sunday, June 10, 2018

Armed with RTI reply, Congress asks PM Narendra Modi to apologise

DNA: New Delhi: Sunday, June 10, 2018.
Equipped with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) reply, the Congress has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi either to substantiate the allegation made during Gujarat election campaign that the Congress had held a meeting with Pakistani officials and were trying to influence the polls, or apologise for it.
A Right to Information (RTI) query sent to the PMO by the Congress sought to know on what basis did PM Modi allege that top Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had met with Pakistan's high commissioner and former foreign minister, and that the foreign power had intervened in the Gujarat elections.
Stating that PM Modi's allegations were grave as they pertained to the country's sovereignty, the RTI query sought to know if there was any evidence about the alleged meeting and if a probe had been launched into the matter.In its reply, the PMO said, "The information sought does not form part of the records held by this office."
The PMO added, "Inputs received from multiple channels, including formal and informal, form the source of the PM's statements."
Asking PM Modi to come clean on the issue, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "PM Modi's allegations had shocked everyone then. Why did not he launch a probe to unveil such a dangerous conspiracy. He should either tell us the source of that critical information or apologise to the country for making baseless allegations to influence public opinion."
During the final phase of the campaign, PM Modi while addressing a rally in Palanpur had raised questions about the alleged appeal by former director general (DG) of Pakistan Army, Sardar Arshad Rafiq, to make senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel the chief minister of Gujarat.
Sucking former PM Manmohan Singh into the controversy, PM Modi had alleged that Pakistan's high commissioner and former foreign minister had attended a meeting at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's house where former PM Manmohan Singh was also present.
"On one hand, Pakistan Army's former DG is interfering in Gujarat's election, on the other, Pakistani people are holding a meeting at Aiyar's house. After that meeting, people of Gujarat, backward communities, poor people and Modi were insulted. Don't you think such events raise doubts?" PM Modi had said.
‘Sovereign Issue’
RTI query to PMO sought to know on what basis did Modi allege that top Cong leaders including Manmohan Singh had met with Pak leaders.