New Delhi: Friction between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress over remarks made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh in the Gujarat election campaign eased on Tuesday when both sides agreed in the Rajya Sabha to form a panel to look into the matter.
Earlier in the day, the opposition led by the Congress demanded an explanation from the prime minister over his remarks.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, raised the issue and said Modi should come to the House and clarify the charge he made against Manmohan Singh of “conspiring with Pakistan."
“Dr. Manmohan Singh ji’s integrity and loyalty to the country has been questioned. 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 said.
Both the BJP and the opposition agreed to form a panel after Rajya Sabha chairman M.Venkaiah Naidu intervened on the issue. Naidu had urged both sides to come to an understanding and move forward so that Parliament could function.
Though Azad agreed to the suggestion, he said that a meeting should be held under the chairmanship of the leader of the House with all leaders of other opposition parties.
“It is not a question of Congress, 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.
While campaigning in Gujarat, Modi had in a speech accused Singh of conspiring with Pakistan to influence the state assembly elections during a meeting with former Pakistani and Indian diplomats at the residence of Congress politician Mani Shankar Aiyar in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at Modi after the BJP won the Gujarat election with 99 of 182 seats—its lowest tally in nearly two decades—saying Modi was facing a credibility problem. “The results have raised a question on the credibility of Modi. I got to know that people in Gujarat do not approve of Modiji’s model; the marketing and propaganda is very good but it is hollow from the inside. Three-four months back when we went to Gujarat, it was said that Congress cannot fight BJP but we did hard work and you have seen the results—BJP has suffered a massive jolt," he told journalists outside Parliament.
During the course of the day, the Lok Sabha passed the Repealing and Amending Bill and Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill. Both the Bills look to repeal a total of 235 Acts.
PTI contributed to the story.