Arun Jaitley fires back at Manmohan Singh, says Congress must give details of meeting with Pakistan diplomats

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley fired back at Manmohan Singh for his statement slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded that the Congress give details as to what transpired in a meeting held between Singh, former vice-president Hamid Ansari and Pakistani diplomats at the home of Mani Shankar Aiyar last Wednesday, according to an ANI tweet.

Jaitley, addressing a press conference on Monday evening, said:  "Those who violated the national policy of talks and terror not going hand-in-hand should apologise. "India's talks with Pakistan and the level of engagement is well-known to everyone," he added.  Jaitley alleged that Congress leaders were in denial and rather than accepting it as a misadventure, were blaming those who raised the issue.

Jaitley added that the Congress was a prominent part of Opposition and that "those in a responsible position in national politics should maintain that position".  Jaitley added he was surprised that the Congress expected the prime minister to apologise for what he said in a rally regarding the meeting,  according to an ANI tweet.

"Is (the) main Opposition party not part of the state?" Jaitley asked, adding that if anyone defies the national line, he should be prepared to answer questions. "It is a political misadventure, it has a political cost," he said. According to a report in DNA, former army chief General Kapoor, a former army chief, said Gujarat elections were never discussed at the dinner meeting. Jaitley went on to defend the government's track record of fighting terrorism, according to the DNA report.

According to ANI, Jaitley also slammed Mani Shankar Aiyar:

On Monday, Singh hit out at Modi and said he was spreading "falsehoods" to “score political points.” Singh issued the statement after it was reported that he met a Pakistani envoy at the residence of Mani Shankar Aiyar. Singh, in his statement, denied that any discussion about the Gujarat election took place at the meeting, said that Modi was losing ground in Gujarat and his fear of the imminent loss was evident.

At a rally on Sunday, Modi had alleged that the "three-hour secret meeting" was attended by Pakistan's high commissioner, its former foreign minister, Manmohan Singh, and former vice-president Hamid Ansari, The Times of India reported. According to the report, Modi further charged that the Congress and certain entities in Pakistan may be working together to prevent the BJP from winning the Gujarat election.

The report also quoted Jaitley as saying detractors only had to follow media reports to understand how well the current dispensation had fared in the matter where Modi's history of responding to terror attacks were concerned.

On Sunday, Modi attacked the Congress over Mani Shankar Aiyar's 'neech' comment and his reported recent meeting with Pakistani officials, alleging that Pakistan was interfering in Gujarat Assembly elections.

Modi, who was speaking at a rally in Palanpur in Banaskantha, sought an explanation from the Congress over its top party men who purportedly met leaders from the neighbouring country.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 11, 2017 22:14 PM

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