New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior INC leaders have written to President Ram Nath Kovind, asking him to caution Prime Minister Narendra Modi against using “unwarranted, threatening and intimidating” language to attack them.
Citing the Karnataka poll campaign, they said the “threat” by Modi to leaders of their party needs to be condemned as it does not behove the prime minister of a “constitutionally governed democratic country of 1.3 billion people”.
Manmohan Singh, as well as senior INC leaders AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram, Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Karan Singh, Ambika Soni, Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma, Motilal Vora, Digvijay Singh and Mukul Wasnik, have signedthe letter.
The INC leaders, in the letter, referred to Modi’s speech on 6 May in Hubli of Karnataka in which he is quoted as saying, “Congress ke neta kaan kholkar sun lijiye, agar seemaon ko paar karoge, to yeh Modi hai, lene ke dene pad jayenge (Congress leaders should clearly hear out, if you cross limits, this is Modi; you will have to pay a price for it)”.
The letter includes a link to a YouTube video of the speech. “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 Prime Minister,” it said.
The prime minister, it stated, is not expected to use menacing language even in the course of an election campaign. This is tantamount to a prime minister using his powers and privileges to “settle personal and political scores”, the letter said.
Referring to the oath of office, the letter said the prime minister of India holds a very special position under the Constitution.
The INC leaders said all prime ministers of India in the past have maintained immense dignity and decorum in the execution of their public or private functions and actions.
“The threat held out by the Prime Minister to the INC’s leadership deserves to be condemned. 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 the peace,” the INC leaders added.
The opposition leaders said the INC is the oldest party in India and has faced many challenges and threats, even as its leadership has exhibited courage and fearlessness in facing them. “We would like to state that neither the party nor our leaders will be cowed down by such threats,” they said.
According to the letter, the president of India is the constitutional head of the Union of India with the duty and obligation to advise and guide the prime minister and his Cabinet.