India’s former prime minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh (pictured) has written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to warn Prime Minister Narendra Modi against using “unwarranted, threatening and intimidating language” against opposition parties. The two-page letter signed by senior Congress leaders referred to a campaign speech by Modi in Hubli on May 6 in the run-up to voting in the Karnataka assembly elections. The letter cited him as saying Congress leaders will ‘pay’ if they cross their limits. The ‘threat’ raised by the prime minister to the Congress leadership deserves to be condemned, the letter said. But Congress leaders had been crossing the limits by mocking Modi for his rise from humble beginnings to become prime minister. Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar called him a ‘chaiwala’ (tea-seller) and ‘neech’ (very lowly and degenerate man). Congress boss Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi had accused Modi of indulging in ‘neech rajniti’ (low-level politics). Her mother and former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi too levelled similar charges against him. When Modi introduced GST or goods and services tax which was lauded by top financial institutions, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said GST stands for ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ referring to a villain in a Bollywood film. When Modi hugged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the first-ever visit by an Indian prime minister, Congress again mocked his ‘hugplomacy’. Since Modi is a towering people’s leader and Congress has no one to match his stature, the grand old party is constantly taunting him. Responding to the Congress letter, federal minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said its leaders led by Manmohan Singh should check their own record of repeated denigration of a popular leader like Modi with most abusive language.
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