New Delhi, August 27 – The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Wednesday rubbished media reports about alleged misconduct of Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh, dubbing these as “plain lies, motivated and malicious attempt” to tarnish the image of the government.
The statement came in the wake of a media report that Rajnath Singh was unhappy over rumours being spread by “a ministerial colleague” and “party rival” about his son being pulled up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over some alleged misconduct.
What is the controversy about?
Rajnath Singh has lodged a complaint with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor, alleging that false rumours were being spread against his son Pankaj Singh.
According to reports, the home minister has told senior RSS leaders that the party insiders were spreading rumours that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had scolded Pankaj, in Rajnath’s presence, for taking bribes for police posting. Over the past month, the power corridors in New Delhi have been rife with speculation about Modi giving a major dressing down to Pankaj.
According to BJP insiders, Modi summoned Rajnath and Pankaj to his chamber, and began the conversation by asking Pankaj about the work he was doing. After the young man had finished speaking, the PM firmly but politely told him to return the money that he had taken for arranging the posting of a police official.
While they were leaving, Modi is reported to have told Pankaj that no further complaint against him should come to him. In private conversations with senior RSS leaders and also the new BJP president Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh has reportedly expressed his displeasure about the way the story has been spread.
The former BJP president feels that a vilification campaign is being carried out at the behest of leaders within the party who do not like the fact that he has been anointed as the undisputed Number Two in the Modi government.
Sources close to Rajnath Singh strongly deny that Pankaj had asked police officers for bribes or that he was reprimanded by the Prime Minister for doing so. Meanwhile, speaking to Headlines Today, RSS spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya said, “Rajnath Singh hasn’t spoken to Sarsanghchalak Bhagwat and we are not involved in this issue.”
In the last Lok Sabha elections, Pankaj Singh had sought a ticket from the Noida seat which the party leadership denied. Incidentally, his father Rajnath was the BJP president then.
What did the PMO say in its statement?
This has reference to reports appearing in a section of the media over the past several weeks, mentioning the Prime Minister, and referring to the conduct of some Union Ministers, and alleged misconduct of the Home Minister’s son.
The reports are plain lies, motivated and constitute a malicious attempt at character assassination and tarnishing the image of the Government. Those indulging in such rumour-mongering are damaging the interest of the nation. These reports are strongly denied.