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BJP slams ‘tea-seller’ remark

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 14, 2013
First Published: 20:09 IST(14/11/2013) | Last Updated: 17:49 IST(7/12/2013)

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal’s remark questioning BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi’s ability to lead the country on account of the latter’s humble origins has invoked strong reaction from Modi himself and other BJP top guns.

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Reacting to Agarwal’s remark that as Modi began his life as a tea-seller he could not make a good prime minister, the latter said such a statement from the leader of a Congress ally had nothing to do with the him (Modi) as such but showed their anti-poor mentality. “The question is not about Modi. It is about how people born in rich families, people who have spent their life like royals are mocking the poor,” Modi told a rally in Chhattisgarh on Thursday.

In a democracy, he said, somebody polishing boots could write the destiny of India. “Will it (leading the country) depend on who was born where? Will it depend on who was educated where or what he did to earn a living when he was a child?” Modi asked.

Rajya Sabha opposition leader Arun Jaitley said a genuine ‘samajwadi’ (socialist) should be proud of the rise of a tea-seller. “He (Agarwal) claims to be a member of the SP and is disturbed that a person who worked as a tea-vendor has worked his way up.”

The Congress was quick to hit back at Modi. “Only a beast in the disguise of a human can taunt or pass satirical comments on somebody’s (Sonia Gandhi’s) illness. It is evident that he is mentally sick,” tweeted party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed.

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