Left stinging by an aggressive and concerted Congress onslaught, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to end the “mud slinging” campaign against NDA prime ministerial hopeful LK Advani, which the former launched after the saffron party repeatedly attacked him for his reticent demeanor.
“Any serious political observer knows my remarks on Advani are true. I owe it to myself and the people of India to show where the shoe pinches. Enough is enough,” Singh was quoted as saying at an interaction with members of the Editors’ Guild in New Delhi a day before the month long elections kick off in the country.
He was responding to a question on whether his recent remarks against Advani stemmed from a conscious decision or an impulsive reaction.
The Prime Minister said he had refrained from reacting to Opposition attacks for so long only as he had not been named the prime ministerial candidate until recently.
Singh’s campaign against Advani has sent the BJP crouching for cover and prompted the party to urge him to refrain from the “smear campaign.”
With Singh’s tirade stabbing deep wounds, the BJP says that the PM should refrain from getting directly involved in verbal duels.
“The prime minister should never get personally involved in any kind of smear campaign. I hope that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself would take an initiative to bring an end to this ongoing mud-slinging in the name of election campaigning,” BJP president Rajnath Singh was quoted as saying in Bangalore.
“If the opposition parties criticise the prime minister for his actions, then instead of the prime minister defending himself, his party should come forward to defend him,” he added.
Over the last week, Manmohan Singh has used sharp words to target Advani, who had repeatedly taunted him for being a “weak” prime minister, for “devaluing” the office of prime minister by allegedly deferring on important policy matters to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and not agreeing to a TV debate with him.
Premier Singh recently broke his silence over the remarks and has repeatedly taunted Advani on several counts including the Babri Masjid demolition and the Kandahar hijack case.