Bali, Sept 29: Hours before the much-awaited peace talks are set to take place between the Indian PM Dr Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the US at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, a controversy over Sharif's remark on PM Singh has taken place.
In an attempt to clear the air over the alleged remarks by the Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif for his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh, NDTV's senior journalist Barkha Dutt has clarified in a blog that "no pejorative word or derogatory phrase used for PM Singh."
In her blog, she has mentioned that "informal, off record conversations are not for reporting."
Barkha has written, "But when I saw how this conversation, at least the part that I witnessed, was distorted, I felt I must share some of these details to set the record straight."
"PM Sharif expressed unhappiness over the fact that Pakistan had been so central to the meeting between PM Singh and US President Barack Obama. He argued that India should have brought its grievances to Pakistan directly. He also said it reminded him of an allegorical story of a dispute between two people in a village, in which one was a woman. The moral of his story was that disputes should be settled between parties directly and not involve a third party."
"There was, in my presence, no pejorative word or derogatory phrase used for PM Singh,", she has written.
Meanwhile, Hamid Mir of Pakistan also claimed that no offence was meant.Mir told Geo TV that Sharif had told him and Barkha Dutt over breakfast in New York that Manmohan Singh had complained, like a "dehati aurat", about Pakistan to US President Barack Obama.
Mir felt Sharif was unhappy with Manmohan Singh.
Mir said: "Sharif smilingly told Barkha: 'Looks like Manmohan Singh went to Obama not like India's prime minister but like a dehati aurat to complain to Obama'.
He later tweeted: "PM Nawaz never said anything derogatory against Manmohan."
"No pejorative word or derogatory phrase used for PM Singh".
Earlier in the day, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi hit out at Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for describing his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh as a "dehati aurat" (rural woman).
"How dare you say this?" Modi said, raising his voice.
"What right you have to say this?" Modi said that while he was willing to take on Manmohan Singh within the country, he would not tolerate any attack on the Indian prime minister by a foreigner.
"There can never be a greater insult to the Indian PM. There cannot be a greater insult to India," he said of Sharif's reported remark. And as the crowds roared, Modi added: "We will not tolerate any insult to India."
Modi also said that Sharif's description of Manmohan Singh as a "dehati aurat" had caused him great grief.