Former PM Manmohan Singh has written to President Ram Nath Kovind, charging Prime Minister Narendra Modi of attempting to intimidate the Congress using “threatening, intimidating” speech and also “issuing a public warning to the leaders and members of the main opposition party”.

Singh has asked the President “to caution the Prime Minister” against the use of such language and also remind Modi of his oath at the time of assuming office.

What has irked Singh and the Congress is a speech the PM had delivered during electioneering in Karnataka on May 6. The PM had allegedly threatened the Congress leaders of dire consequences if they cross limits.

Congress ke neta kaan kholkar sun lijiye , agar seemaon ko paar karoge , to yeh Modi hai , lene ke dene pad jayenge (Congress leaders should clearly hear out, if you cross limits, then this is Modi and you will have to pay a price),” the PM had said.

In the letter to the President, Singh, along with senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ahmed Patel, said all past prime ministers of the country had maintained “immense dignity and decorum in the discharge of public or private functions/actions”.

“It is unthinkable that in our democratic polity, the Prime Minister, as head of the government, would utter words which are threatening, intimidating in content and a public warning to the leaders and members of main opposition party,” Singh wrote.

He said the threat deserves to be condemned and added that this cannot be the language of the prime minister of a constitutionally governed country of 1.3 billion people. “Such discourse whether in public or private is unacceptable conduct. The words used are menacing and intimidating with intent to insult and provoke breach of the peace,” he said.

Urging the President to step in, the Congress leader said: “The President of India as the constitutional head of the Union of India enjoys high duty and obligation to advise and guide the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.”

The letter said Modi is not expected to use menacing language even in the course of election campaign which tantamounts to using his powers and privileges as Prime Minister to settle personal and political scores.

Singh asked the President to caution the Prime Minister from using such “unwarranted, threatening and intimidating” language against leaders of the Congress or any other party or person as it does not behove the position of the Prime Minister.

The Left parties also supported Singh on the issue. “It is unbecoming of the Prime Minister to issue such threats in a public rally. He is the Prime Minister of India, not just of the RSS and the BJP,” said CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.