New Delhi, Dec 11 Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of spreading "falsehood and canards" in a desperate bid to win the Gujarat elections and asked him to "apologize to the nation".
In a hard-hitting statement, Manmohan Singh denied allegations by Modi that he and others invited to a dinner at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's residence with Pakistani diplomats discussed the Gujarat election.
"I am deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by none less than ... Modi," the Congress leader said.
"Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of the Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable.
"Sadly and regrettably, Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every Constitutional office including that of a former Prime Minister and Army Chief," Manmohan Singh added.
The statement follows Modi allegations at an election rally in Gujarat that guests at Aiyar's house, including Manmohan Singh and former Vice President Hamid Ansari, discussed the Gujarat election with Pakistan's High Commissioner to India and a former Pakistani Foreign Minister among others.
"I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Aiyar as alleged by Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner," Manmohan Singh said.
"The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations," he added.
Manmohan Singh said the Congress needed "no sermons on 'nationalism' from a party and Prime Minister whose compromised track record on fighting terrorism is well known.
"Let me remind Modi that he had gone to Pakistan uninvited after the terrorist attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur. Let him also tell the country the reason for inviting the infamous ISI of Pakistan to our strategic air base in Pathankot to investigate a terror attack that emanated from Pakistan."
Manmohan Singh went on: "I sincerely hope that the Prime Minister will show the maturity and gravitas expected of the high office he holds instead of concentrating his energy solely on erroneously conceived brownie points.
"I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies."