Saturday, Dec 16, 2017 | Last Update : 03:01 AM IST
Rahul first asks Mani Shankar to apologise and then suspends him.
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and a known Gandhi loyalist, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar ran out of luck as the party on Thursday suspended him for calling the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi a “neech aadmi” (vile man) who does “dirty politics”. He has also been served a show cause notice.
Mr Aiyar’s remark not merely rattled the Congress but gave BJP a stick to beat it’s rival before the crucial Gujarat polls. The Prime Minister, Mr Modi who seemed to be fighting his toughest battle in Gujarat indicated that Aiyar’s remark would now provide BJP a major electoral advantage. Speaking in Surat, Mr Modi maintained that while had nothing to say on a “wise” Congress leader calling him ’neech’, he hinted that this could just be the winnin card. “They have their language and we have our work. People will answer them through the ballot box”, Mr Modi said.
Sensing that this could just be the “chaiwala” moment for the BJP, the Congress vice-presdient, Mr Rahul Gandhi decided to act swiftly and removed Mr Aiyar from the primary membership of the party and issued a show cause notice. It just could be a wee bit late for the Congress to rein in Mr Aiyar as yet again before a crucial poll, he handed over a major advantage to the BJP.
His description of Mr Modi as a “chaiwala” played a crucial role in making the Prime Minister closer to the “poor and ordinary” people in the country. “Show them even a chaiwalla can become a Prime Minister in this country,” BJP had screamed from the roof top.
Charged by Mr Aiyar’s description of him as a “neech” the Prime Minister himself moved in to identify himself with the lower caste, poor and voters of Gujarat. While descrbing Mr Aiyar’s remark as a “Mughal mentality”, Mr Modi openly played the OBC card. “Mani Shankar Aiyar today said I belong to neech caste, I am neech, this is an insult to Gujarat,” he said in the OBC dominated (nearly 40 % of the total state population) Gujarat.
He tore Congress to shreds and asked; “Have I done any neech work in my public life?”
The BJP which apaprently was struggling after decades in Gujarat polls seemed to have bounced back, thanks to Mr Aiyar’s “insult”. The BJP is now not expected to let the electorates forget Mr Aiyar’s remarks till the elections are over or even after. “He (Modi) is ‘neech kism ka aadmi’ (a vile man) who has no ‘sabhyata’ (civility),” Mr Aiyar had said.
The Congress leadership which had infact tactily patted Mr Aiyar’s back when he called Mr Modi a “chaiwallah” had learnt it’s lesson and Mr Gandhi promtly tweeted; “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said.” The Congress spokerpersons made it clear that Mr Aiyar’s remarks were “condemnable.”
Mr Aiyar’s remarks could not have come at a better time for the BJP and the Prime Minister knew it. “ This is the culture of the Congress Party. People of Gujarat will punish anti-poor, anti-Dalit, anti-Tribal and anti-OBC Congress,” Mr Modi said.
Mr Modi dug deeper and while asking BJP workers not to respond to Mr. Aiyar’s remarks against him as he said: “This is Mughal mentality, which hates people who even wear good clothes.” BJP President Amit Shah tweeted: “Neither shocked nor surprised by Mani Shankar Aiyar’s referring to PM as ‘Neech.’Realising that he perhaps crossed the lakshmanrekha and yet again made the road to Gujarat throne easier for the BJP, Mr Aiyar spent his day trying to clarify his remark, saying “neech” has “many meanings.” But the damage perhaps has already been done.