Clearing the air over a dinner get-together at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's residence that led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to think of 'Pakistani interfence' in Gujarat elections, former Army General Deepak Kapoor has said that domestic politics was not discussed at the meeting at all. "Only India-Pakistan ties," he said.
Talking to The Indian Express, Kapoor clarified that the dinner on December 6 was attended by 20 odd people-- former dipplomats, defence personnels-- who had served in Pakistan at some point in time.
"Yes, I was part of the meeting and we discussed nothing more than India-Pakistan relations," Kapoor told the newspaper.
The meet was held during the visit of Pakistan's former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri to India.
According to the report, apart from Kapoor, former foreign minister K Natwar Singh, former diplomats Salman Haidar, TCA Raghavan, Sharat Sabharwal, K Shankar Bajpai and Chinmaya Gharekhan also were present at the dinner among others. Bajpai, Raghavan and Sabharwal had served as Indian High Commissioners to Pakistan.
Former PM Manmohan Singh and former vice-president Hamid Ansari were also present at the dinner.
Another participant of the dinner at Aiyar's residence, told the newspaper that the meet was a 'personal event' and post dinner talks included issues like terrorism, Hafiz Saeed, Kashmir, etc.
Addressing a rally in Gujarat on Sunday, PM Modi said that Pakistan is colluding with congress to meddle with Gujarat elections. He also sought explanation from Congress over reports of the meet.
Modi said (former Congress minister) Mani Shankar Aiyar had called him "neech" (vile) a day after the alleged meeting of Pakistani leaders with top Congressmen.
"There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar's house. It was attended by Pakistan's high commissioner, Pakistan's former foreign minister, India's former vice president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh," Modi said.
The meeting at Aiyar's house carried on for almost three hours, Modi said.
"The next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was 'neech'. This is a serious matter," he said.
Modi added that Rafiq had backed Ahmed Patel as the next chief minister of Gujarat.
"(On one side) Pakistan Army's former DG is interfering in Gujarat's election, on the other side, Pakistan's people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar's house," he said.
"And, after that meeting, people of Gujarat, backward communities, poor people and Modi were insulted. Don't you think such events raise doubts," Modi asked.
This is not the first time that the BJP has alleged Pakistan's interest in India's domestic politics. In 2015, when voting was going on in Bihar, Party's national president Amit Shah had said that if his party lost the elections "by mistake… crackers will be burst in Pakistan".