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RS deadlock ends after govt placates Cong on Modi’s Manmohan remark

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File images of Manmohan Singh and prime minister Narendra Modi

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New Delhi: The week-long impasse in the Rajya Sabha over Narendra Modi’s attack against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat polls ended on Wednesday with the government making a climbdown saying the Prime Minister did not question Singh’s commitment to the nation.

The Congress also reciprocated by disapproving Mani Shankar Aiyar’s criticism of the Prime Minister after which the House resumed normal business. The Rajya Sabha was repeatedly rocked in the last one week with the Congress demanding Prime Minister’s apology and refusing to allow transaction of business.

After backroom negotiations between the treasury benches and the opposition, a compromise was reached with both the sides agreeing to do their bit to resolve the situation.

“The statement (by Modi) did not question nor did he mean to question the commitment to the nation of Manmohan Singh or Hamid Ansari, the former Vice President. Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem as also their commitment to the nation,” said Jaitley, who is Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, breaking the ice.

Modi had accused Manmohan Singh of conspiring with Pakistanis to defeat the BJP in the Gujarat election after the former Prime Minister and Ansari participated in a dinner hosted by former Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar at his residence in honour of former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri at which the Pakistan High Commissioner was also present.

Following Jaitley’s brief statement, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also read out from a prepared statement in which he thanked Jaitley for his statement in ending the impasse. On his part, Azad distanced the Congress from Aiyar’s statement against Modi saying the Congress disassociates itself from any attempt to bring down the dignity of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Aiyar had during the Gujarat polls described Modi as a “person of low level”. The Prime Minister said the Congress leader had called him a low caste. The Congress subsequently suspended Aiyar and issued him a showcause notice and asked him to apologize.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu thanked leaders of both the sides for resolving the issue.

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