Press Trust of India
New Delhi, 29 September
A major controversy erupted today over Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif purportedly calling his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh a “village woman” with Mr Narendra Modi terming it as the “biggest insult” of the Prime Minister.
“How dare you (Sharif) address my nation’s Prime Minister as a village woman? There cannot be a bigger insult of the Indian Prime Minister. We can fight with him on policies but this we will not tolerate. This nation of 1.2 billion will not tolerate its Prime Minister’s insult,” Mr Modi, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, said today at a huge rally here.
The controversy has its roots in a comment by a well-known Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir on Geo TV that Mr Sharif had used this description “dehati aurat” (village woman) during a breakfast meeting with him and NDTV’s Barkha Dutt yesterday while expressing his unhappiness that Mr Singh complained to US President Barack Obama about Mr Sharif on Pakistan.
However, Dutt on Twitter said, “this (Mir’s version) is a distortion entirely” and that Mr Sharif said “nothing of this kind”.
Dutt said there were bits in the interaction that were off the record. Secondly, this is distortion even of the off the record, she said.
She went on to add that the bits that were off record did not include any pejorative word about the Prime Minister.
Mir in the programme quoted Mr Sharif as saying, “It seems as if Manmohan Singh went to complain to Obama about me like a ‘dehati aurat’.
Mr Modi, who made an issue of the comments, said: “The journalists who were sitting in front of Nawaz Sharif when he was insulting our Prime Minister should also answer to the people of my country”.
“I want to ask those journalists, I don’t know who were they but journalists of my country who were having sweets sitting with Nawaz Sharif when he was abusing our Prime Minister calling him village woman, I expected those Indian journalists, the country expected them, to refuse the sweets and walk out,” he said.