Never Distinguished One Community From Another: Manmohan Singh Takes a Dig at Modi

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Last month, while campaigning in Rajasthan, PM Modi had said: “Manmohan Singh’s government had said Muslims have the first right to wealth.”

NEW DELHI — Weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had accused the Manmohan Singh-led government of having said that Muslims have the first right to wealth, the former PM, in a veiled reference to the speech, said that he had “never distinguished one community from another”.

In a letter addressed to the country’s people ahead of the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections, Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that PM Modi has reduced the dignity of the office and has engaged in hate speeches, reporrted The Indian Express.

“I have been watching the political discussion very carefully during this election campaign. Modiji has engaged in vile hate speeches, which are downright divisive. Modi ji is the first Prime Minister who has reduced the dignity of office, and with it the seriousness of the Prime Minister’s office. No previous Prime Minister used such vile, unparliamentary and low-level language to target a particular section or opposition. They have also given me some wrong statements. I have never in my life distinguished one community from another. This is the special right and habit of BJP,” he said.

Appealing for peace and harmony, the former PM added: “I appeal to every voter of Punjab to vote for development and coordinated progress. I urge all young people to vote carefully, and to vote for the future. Only Congress can guarantee a development-led progressive future, where democracy and the Constitution will be protected.”

Last month, while campaigning in Rajasthan, PM Modi had said: “Congress’s manifesto says they will take stock of the gold mothers and daughters have, and will distribute that wealth. Manmohan Singh’s government had said Muslims have the first right to wealth. Brothers and sisters, this Urban Naxal thinking will not spare even the mangal sutras of my mothers and sisters.”

Singh, at a meeting of the National Development Council in December 2006, had flagged the need for judicious use of resources. “I believe our collective priorities are clear. Agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programmes for the upliftment of SCs/STs, other backward classes, minorities and women and children. The component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will need to be revitalised. We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources,” he had said. The next day, the PMO had also clarified that Singh’s reference to ‘first claim on resources’ “refers to all the ‘priority’ areas… including programmes for the upliftment of SCs, STs, OBCs, women and children and minorities…”

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