“Congress quoted the Prime Minister’s words and said the “threat held out by the Prime Minister to the Congress leadership deserves to be condemned.” (File Image)
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and top Congress leaders on Monday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind and asked him to caution Prime Minister Narendra Modi against using “menacing”, “threatening” and “intimidating” language to attack them.
The trigger was Modi’s election campaign speech in Hubli on May 6, while campaigning for the Karnataka polls, during which he slammed the Congress for repeatedly talking about corruption allegations against BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa.
Arguing that Yeddyurappa had faced the court, Modi accused the Congress of breaking the decorum of public life by targeting him. He then said, “Congress ke neta kaan kholkar ke sun lijiye. Agar seemaon ko paar karoge, toh yeh Modi hain, lene ke dene padh jayenge (Congress leaders listen carefully. If you cross boundaries, then this Modi will ensure that you face the consequences).”
In its letter, the Congress quoted the Prime Minister’s words and said the “threat held out by the Prime Minister to the Congress leadership deserves to be condemned.” The party noted, “This cannot be the language of the Prime Minister of a constitutionally governed democratic country of 1.3 billion people. Such discourse, whether in public or private, is unacceptable conduct. The words used are menacing and intimidating with intent to insult and provoke breach of peace.”
Besides the former prime minister, the letter is signed, among others, by Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, A K Antony, Ahmed Patel, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma and Digvijaya Singh.
The Congress leaders said the President, as the Constitutional head, “enjoys high duty and obligation to advise and guide the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Admittedly, the Prime Minister is not expected to use menacing language even in the course of election campaign, which tantamounts to using his powers and privileges as the PM to settle personal and political scores.”
The Congress leaders said, “The President may caution the Prime Minister from using such unwarranted, threatening and intimidating language against leaders of the Congress party, or any other party or person, as it does not behove the position of the PM.”
Prime Ministers in the past, the opposition leaders said, have maintained “immense dignity and decorum in discharge of public or private functions/actions. It is unthinkable that in our democratic polity, the prime minister as head of the government would utter words which are threatening, intimidating in content and a public warning to the leaders and members of the main opposition party…”