Manmohan Singh lashes out at Modi for misquoting him: 'First PM to lower office's dignity'

Singh said no PM in past has uttered 'such hateful, unparliamentary and coarse terms'

Narendra Modi with Manmohan Singh (File) Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his predecessor Manmohan Singh | PTI

Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh has hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his campaign during the Lok Sabha election, accusing the latter of attributing false statements to him. Singh added that he never singled out a community from others during his tenure.

Singh, in a letter addressed to Punjab voters ahead of the final phase of Lok Sabha polls, said India was standing at a crucial juncture. "We have one final chance to ensure that democracy and our Constitution are protected from the repeated assaults of a despotic regime, trying to unleash dictatorship in India".

Slamming the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government, Singh said, "In the past 10 years, the BJP government has left no stone unturned in castigating Punjab, Punjabis and Punjabiyat." He also targeted the Prime Minister for misquoting his 'Muslim first remark'.

"I have been keenly following the political discourse during this election campaign. Modi ji has indulged in the most vicious form of hate speeches, which are purely divisive in nature. Modi ji is the first Prime Minister to lower the dignity of public discourse, and thereby the gravity of the office of the Prime Minister."

Singh said no prime minister in the past has uttered "such hateful, unparliamentary and coarse terms, meant to target either a specific section of the society or the opposition". Countering Modi’s remark against him, Singh said, "He has also attributed some false statements to me. I have never in my life singled out one community from the other. That is the sole copyright of the BJP. People of India are seeing through all of this."

Criticising the Modi government’s agriculture and economic policies, Singh said, "Over 750 farmers, mostly belonging to Punjab, were martyred while incessantly waiting at Delhi borders, for months together. As if the lathis and the rubber bullets were not enough, none less than the Prime Minister verbally assaulted our farmers by calling them 'Andolanjeevis’ and 'Parjeevi' (parasites) on the floor of the Parliament."

"Their only demand was the withdrawal of the three farm laws imposed on them without consulting them," he added. "His policies in the last ten years have eroded the earnings of our farmers. The national average monthly income of farmers is a meagre Rs. 27 rupees per day, while average debt per farmer is Rs. 27,000 (NSSO)," Singh said.

Slamming 'Agniveer' scheme, Singh said, "The BJP government imposed an ill-conceived Agniveer Scheme on our Armed Forces. The BJP thinks that the value of patriotism, bravery and service is only four years. This shows their fake nationalism."

He added, "Those who trained for regular recruitment were woefully betrayed by the outgoing regime. The youth of Punjab, the son of the farmer, who dreams of serving the motherland through the Armed Forces, is now thinking twice about getting recruited only for a four-year stint. Agniveer Scheme endangers National Security. Congress party has therefore promised to abolish the Agniveer Scheme." 

The economist also slammed BJP’s economic policies. "In the past 10 years, the nation's economy has witnessed unimaginable turmoil. The imposition of the demonetisation disaster, a flawed GST, and the painful mismanagement during the COVID pandemic have resulted in a miserable situation, where an expectation of a subpar 6-7 per cent GDP growth has become the new normal. Average GDP Growth under BJP Government has plunged to under 6 per cent, while during Congress-UPA tenure, it was about 8 per cent (New Series)."

Singh appealed to voters to "give love, peace, fraternity, and harmony a chance in India".

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