Mani Shankar Aiyar wanted to get me ‘removed’, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the "Gujarat Vikas Rally" in Surat on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday again raised suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark terming him a neech aadmi’ (lowly person), and labelled the Congress a casteist party.

Speaking at a public meeting in the small town of Bhabhar in Banaskantha district in north Gujarat, Mr Modi also accused Mr. Aiyar of visiting Pakistan to arrange his [Modi’s] supari (contract killing).

“After I became Prime Minister, this man (Aiyar) went to Pakistan and met some Pakistanis. All this thing is available on the social media. In that meeting, he is seen discussing with Pakistanis that ‘Jab tak Modi ko raste se hataya nahi jata' (until Modi is not removed from the way), relations between India and Pakistan cannot improve,” Mr. Modi said.

"Someone tell me what is the meeting of raste se hatana? You had gone to Pakistan to give my supari; you wanted to give Modi's supari,” the Prime Minister said.

“This conversation took place three years back. The Congress party had tried to suppress this episode...They did not take any action against him for last three years,” Mr. Modi alleged. “What is my crime? This country’s people have elected me in a democratic way, and you go to Pakistan and say that this man is coming in the way and remove him!”

Mr Aiyar meanwhile, said he was ready to accept any punishment if the party suffers damage in the Gujarat polls due to his “neech aadmi” comment.

‘Deeply reget it’

The veteran party leader, who was suspended on Thursday for his remarks, said the Congress party had given him a lot and there was no future for India without the party.

“If the Congress has suffered any damage because of what I have said, then I deeply regret it,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an India-Pakistan seminar.

Aur agar party ko election mein kuchh bhi nuksan hota hai, to jo bhi uchit dand Congress party dena chahe wo de sakte hain (And if the Congress suffers any damage in the polls due to my comments, then I will accept whatever punishment the party deems fit),” he said.

This is not the first time Mr. Aiyar’s comments have left the Congress red-faced. In November 1998, Mr. Aiyar, who was then Congress spokesperson, called BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee a “layak vyakti, nalayak neta” (competent person, useless leader). Then too, according to old-timers, Mr. Aiyar had blamed lack of Hindi proficiency for the comment.

His “chaiwallah” label for Mr. Modi in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha election became a rallying point for BJP campaign.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 4:59:33 AM |

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