India frowns at Singapore PM's remarks on criminal records of Indian MPstext_fields
New Delhi: India has summoned the Singaporean High Commissioner to lodge a strong objection against remarks made by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong who quoted a report to say that over half the MP's in the Indian Lok Sabha had pending criminal charges against them, including rape and murder.
Official sources have said the government referred to the remarks as "uncalled-for". PM Loong's comments were made as part of an address in the Singaporean Parliament, where he addressed the topic of how democratic systems change and become unrecognisable to those who fought to establish them in the first place.
"Many political systems today would be quite unrecognisable to their founding leaders... Nehru's India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder, though it is also said that many of these allegations are politically motivated," Lee was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
He also referred to Israel as another example, stating that: "Ben-Gurion's Israel has morphed into one which can barely form a government, despite four general elections in two years. Meanwhile, a stream of senior politicians and officials in Israel face a litany of criminal charges, some have gone to jail."
The Singaporean PM harked back to several prominent world leaders, adding that democracies usually started off with passionate intensity, with leaders who were often "exceptional individuals of great courage, immense culture, and outstanding ability". However, as time went on, this idealism was hard to maintain and systems degraded, he said.
In India, PM Loong's comments found support in the Indian National Congress, who said that it was a pity that inspirational leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru could find appreciation outside but not within India.
"Pandit Nehru's magnanimity continues to inspire world leaders even today. Pity the ones here at home who fail to have the vision to understand the exceptional leader he was," Congress said on its Twitter handle.