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As Rahul gets ready to take charge of Congress, Modi hurls ‘Aurangzeb Raj’ barb

Mani Shankar Aiyar rushed to Rahul Gandhi’s defence, invoking Mughal rulers to stress that the Congress was different was that it believed in democracy.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2017 15:42 IST
Agencies
Agencies
New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Congress president,Shehzad Poonawalla
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi with party leaders during the filing of his nomination papers for the post of party president, at the AICC office in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

Shortly after Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination for the Congress president post on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared the opposition leader’s expected “elevation” to the “Aurangzeb Raj”. (Live Updates)

Amid criticism of the election process that has even drawn flak from a Maharashtra Congress leader, Mani Shankar Aiyar rushed to the 47-year-old Gandhi scion’s defence even as the BJP targeted the opposition party over dynasty politics.

“When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any election happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go to the heir.”

The Congress veteran was replying to a question about the BJP’s criticism following Maharashtra leader Shehzad Poonawalla’s charge that the process of electing the party’s president was “rigged”.

Poonawalla alleged that party’s spokesperson Manish Tewari had told him during a conversation that the Congress was a “proprietorship” like every other political party in India. He also said he had information that the delegates, who were going to vote for the election, were fixed.

“But in a democracy elections are held. I openly invite Poonawalla to file the nomination and contest,” Aiyar said and asked if anyone has heard of Poonawala.

The Congress president’s post is currently held by Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi, who has been at the helm of the party since 1998.

Modi was quick to respond to the remarks made by Aiyar, who he said never shies away from “showing loyalty to one family”. He also said that the Congress leaders admit that it is not a party but a kunba or a clan.

“I congratulate the Congress on their ‘Aurangzeb Raj.’ For us, the wellbeing of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command,” Modi said while addressing a public meeting in Dharampur constituency in Gujarat.

“Congress has gone bankrupt as it is going to make a person who is out on bail in corruption case its president,” Modi, said without referring to the National Herald case, in which Rahul has got a bail.

“Does the Congress accept that it is a family party? We don’t want this Aurangzeb rule,” Modi said.

The ruling BJP has, time and again, attacked the Congress party, accusing it of following dynastic politics and feudalism.

The Prime Minister also accused the Congress party of defaming the BJP by propagating it is against Muslims.

“Disinformation like BJP does this and that against Muslims has been spread. This family party made it their main agenda to spread disinformation about the BJP. But Gujarat people are not so naive, they have now become sensitive and aware to disinformation,” he said.

He alleged that the Congress party has been indulging in divisive politics in a bid to win the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.

“Earlier, Congress would go out of the way to show their secularism but now we are all seeing what they are doing in this election, where they are going. Unfortunately for them, Muslims know their real nature,” Modi said, adding that Congress has always defamed Gujarat and that it can neither tolerate nor accept leaders from the state.

The two-phase Gujarat polls will be held on December 9 and 14.

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 15:22 IST