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Manmohan, Congress object to Modi’s warning, urges President to caution him (Lead)

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, along with several senior Congress leaders, have taken strong objection to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against party leaders at a poll rally in Karnataka and written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to caution Modi against “unwarranted, threatening and intimidating” language as it does not behove him.

In the letter written on May 13 and released to the media on Monday, Congress leaders referred to Modi’s speech in Hubli during the Karnataka Assembly election campaign in which he had warned the Congress against crossing boundaries.

“Hon’ble President may caution the Prime Minister from using such unwarranted, threatening and intimidating language against leaders of the Congress or any other party or person, as it does not behove the position of Prime Minister,” the letter said.

In his speech on May 6, Modi had said: “Congress leaders, listen with your ears open, if you cross boundaries, then this is Modi, you will have to pay for it.”

The Congress letter said that the words used by Modi were “menacing and intimidating with intent to insult and provoke breach of peace”.

It said that all Prime Ministers in the past 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 government would utter words which are threatening, intimidating in content and a public warning to the leaders and members of the main opposition party — Indian National Congress,” the letter said.

Apart from Singh, the letter has been signed by senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Karan Singh, Mallikarjun Kharge, P. Chidambaram, A.K. Antony, Anand Sharma, Ashok Gehlot, Motilal Vora, Ambika Soni, Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh, Ahmed Patel and Mukul Wasnik.

The Congress leaders said that the President as the constitutional head of the union 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 Prime Minister to settle personal and political scores,” the letter said.

It said that the threat held out by Modi to the Congress leadership deserves to be condemned.

“This cannot be the language of a Prime Minister of a constitutionally governed democratic country of 1.3 billion people. Such discourse whether in public or private is an unacceptable conduct.”

The party said it would not be cowed down by such threats.

“The Congress is the oldest party in India and has faced many challenges and threats. The Congress leadership has always exhibited courage and fearlessness in facing threat and challenges. We would like to state that neither the party nor our leaders will be cowed down by such threats,” it said.

The letter said that the Prime Minister holds a very special position under the Constitution and heads the Union Cabinet to which the executive reports. The party also wrote the oath of office taken by the Prime Minister.

Modi, in his speech, had taken exception to Congress leaders hurling charges against BJP chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa and said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her son Congress President Rahul Gandhi were “on bail” in the National Herald case.

“The Congress leaders – mother and son – face allegations in Rs 5,000 crore scam. Hence they are out on bail. The party whose president is on bail, they are asking us questions,” Modi had said.

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