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Coca-Cola founder was a ‘shinkanji seller’: Why #AccordingToRahulGandhi was a top Twitter trend

The hashtag “#AccordingToRahulGandhi” became on of the top India Twitter trends, as thousands lampooned Rahul Gandhi over his statements.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2018 00:10 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Rahul Gandhi,#AccordingToRahulGandhi,McDonald’s
Congress president Rahul Gandhi during a meeting with Seva Dal workers at the party office in New Delhi on Monday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday cited the examples of successful American entrepreneurs to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies. But his vignettes on corporate history that described the founder of Coca-Cola as a ‘shinkanji (lemonade) seller’ and that of McDonald’s a ‘dhaba wala’ didn’t go down well with many Twitter users.

The hashtag “#AccordingToRahulGandhi” became on of the top India Twitter trends, as thousands mocked the Congress leader over his statements.

Addressing a convention of OBC workers of the Congress, Gandhi sought to emphasise the point that the Modi government ignored skills and talent and did not provide the right opportunities to the backward classes .

In that context, he talked about the founders of world-renowned companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

“Everyone must have heard about the Coca-Cola company. Who started this company. Who was he, does anyone know? I will tell you who he was. The person who started the Coca-Cola company was one who sold ‘shikanji’. He used to sell ‘shikanji’ in America. He used to mix sugar in water. His experience and talent was honoured and he got money and started the Coca-Cola company.

“You must have heard about McDonald’s company, which is seen everywhere. Who started it and what did he do? He used to run a ‘dhaba’ (roadside restaurant). You show me that ‘dhaba-walla’ in India who has created a company like Coca-Cola. Where is it?”

Gandhi went on to ask the gathering if they had heard of the Ford company, Mercedes and Honda and who had started them.

“It was a mechanic. Ford and Honda were mechanics. You show me an automobile company in India that was started by a mechanic. Where is it? It is not that our people, our ‘dhaba-wallahs’ do not have sense and strength. It is not that India’s mechanics did not have the potential as that of Ford or Mercedes. It is that if the doors of bank are open for Ford, Mercedes, then the doors of banks and politics are shut for our ‘dhabawalas’, mechanics and ‘dhobis’ and other backwards,” he said at the convention.

Someone also ‘tampered’ with the Wikipedia page of John Pemberton, the American pharmacist who is best known as the developer and founder of Coca-Cola. In the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page, someone added: “He used to sell lemonade (Shikhanji) in his earlier days along with Gandhi family.”

However, this flippant addition was removed shortly afterwards.

The Wikipedia page made no mention of Pemberton ever being involved in the lemonade business.

It describes Pemberton, who lived from July 8, 1831 to August 16, 1888, as a pharmacist who in May 1886 developed an early version of a beverage that would later become world-famous as Coca-Cola. He sold his rights to the drink shortly before his death.

First Published: Jun 11, 2018 19:48 IST