Modi is first PM to lower dignity of public discourse, gravity of office: Manmohan Singh

No PM in the past has uttered such hateful, unparliamentary terms to target either a specific section of society or opposition, writes former PM Singh in a letter to Punjab voters.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with PM Narendra Modi.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with PM Narendra Modi.File photo | PTI

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh criticised his successor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday for making divisive speeches during the 2024 Lok Sabha election campaign.

In an appeal to voters in Punjab ahead of the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha polls on June 1, Singh asked the voters to give love, peace, fraternity, and harmony a chance and asserted that only the Congress can ensure a growth-oriented, progressive future where democracy and the Constitution will be safeguarded.

Hitting out Modi's recent poll campaign rhetoric, Singh wrote, "No prime minister in the past has uttered such hateful, unparliamentary terms to target either a specific section of the society or the opposition."

"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 prime minister," the former PM's letter read.

The senior Congress leader also hit out at Modi for attributing false statements to him, saying, "I have never in my life singled out one community from the other. That is the sole copyright of the BJP."

Singh's remarks came in response to a claim made by PM Modi at an election rally in Rajasthan, where Modi alleged that if Congress returned to power, Muslims would have the first right to the country’s resources. In the same speech, Modi had alleged that Manmohan Singh had made a similar statement during his tenure as Prime Minister.

Singh said people of India are seeing through all of this.

"This narrative of dehumanisation has now reached its peak. It is now our duty to save our beloved nation from these forces of discord," he wrote.

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The senior Congress leader also lambasted the Union government and PM Modi's response to the farmers agitation, adding that the BJP had left "no stone unturned in castigating Punjab, Punjabis, and Punjabiyat."

"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," Dr Singh wrote.

Meanwhile, hitting out at the BJP's economic policies and pandemic management, Singh wrote, "In the last ten years, the country’s economy has seen unimaginable turmoil. The imposition of the demonetization disaster, a flawed GST and the painful mismanagement during the COVID pandemic has resulted in a miserable situation where an expectation of a subpar 6-7 percent GDP growth has become the normal."

He also highlighted that the annual growth of the BJP government had dropped to under 6 percent, while the same was around 8 percent during the Congress-led UPA regime.

Singh also highlighted that the annual growth rate under the BJP government had dropped to under 6 percent, compared to around 8 percent during the Congress-led UPA regime.

The Congress leader also remarked that unprecedented unemployment and unbridled inflation have greatly widened inequality, which he said was at a 100-year high.

"While the Congress UPA, despite challenges, increased the purchasing power of our people, the misrule of the BJP government has resulted in depletion of household savings to a historic 47-year low. Rural wages have witnessed a systematic fall and wage disparity has led to widespread distress," the former PM remarked.

The Congress leader also hit out at the BJP government for imposing an "ill-conceived" Agniveer scheme on the armed forces.

"The BJP thinks that the value of patriotism, bravery and service is only four years. This shows their fake nationalism," he wrote in his letter.

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