Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Aiyar attacks PM in article, Congress promises action
Aiyar was referring to his 2017 comment calling Modi a “neech aadmi” ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections. He was suspended from the Congress over the remark. The suspension was revoked in 2018.Updated: May 17, 2019 19:17 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
An article written by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, in which he recalled his 2017 “neech admi” remark about Narendra Modi, pointing out that his words were “prophetic” caused a political storm, with the Prime Minister bringing it up while campaigning in Punjab, and the Congress promising “appropriate action” against the former union minister.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the Congress condemned Aiyar’s purported justification for his 2017 remarks. The Congress promised appropriate action against Aiyar while the BJP called him “abuser-in-chief”.
In an article Aiyar wrote for online news sites, Rising Kashmir and The Print and published on Monday, he said Modi will be ousted on May 23 when the results of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls would be announced. “That would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see,” Aiyar wrote.
“Remember how I described him [Modi] on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?” Aiyar wrote.
Aiyar was referring to his 2017 comment calling Modi a “neech aadmi” ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections. He was suspended from the Congress over the remark. The suspension was revoked in 2018.
At an election rally in Chandigarh on Tuesday, Modi attacked Aiyar and the Congress, saying he takes such abuses as “gifts” and the public will respond to each and every abuse by re-electing the BJP government.
“During Gujarat elections, their confidante who had occupied an important position in their government said Modi is ‘neech’. There was an outrage in Gujarat and then, they (Congress) pretended to throw him out of the party. After some days, he was taken back,” Modi said, referring to Aiyar.
Responding to Aiyar’s article, Congress’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, said an appropriate forum of his party will definitely look at Aiyar’s justification and take appropriate action.
“We completely reject and condemn the remarks of the likes of Mani Shankar Aiyar and every other person, who is violating the time-tested principle of self-discipline in political discourse, of mutual respect and adherence to ideas and ideology, and not to verbally abuse while fighting an election,” he said.
Surjewala accused Modi of lowering the political discourse by using “downright insulting” and “abusive language” against his opponents. He said hatred, violence, and abuse is the modus operandi of the BJP and not of the Congress.
“We give due regard even to our worst political enemy as was shown by Rahul Gandhi on the floor of Parliament,” he said, referring to Gandhi’s hug to Modi after attacking his government in July last year.
Surjewala said Modi has “seriously lowered the prestige of the office of the prime minister in independent India by his choice of words, anger, uncontrollable rage, and by his quest to seek revenge against every opposition leader, particularly the Congress president [Rahul Gandhi] and his family”.
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Later, addressing a press conference in Shimla, Aiyar said this was just one line in his article and he will not get involved in media’s “games” when reporters asked his about the fresh controversy. “I am a fool, but not such a big fool,” he said.
“...Aiyar then apologized and hid behind poor Hindi excuse. Now he says he was prophetic. Congress revoked his suspension last year for filthy outburst. Double speak and arrogance of @INCIndia [Congress] on display again!” BJP spokesman G V L Narasimha Rao tweeted.
“I’m pushing for a new language in politics. Let’s fight each other brutally on issues. Let’s fight hard on ideology. But... Let’s not use hatred and violence against each other. It’s bad for India,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Tuesday.
First Published: May 14, 2019 23:42 IST