Mani Shankar takes flak for “tea seller” jibe at Modi

Updated - November 16, 2021 08:00 pm IST

Published - January 18, 2014 04:56 am IST - New Delhi:

Mani Shankar Aiyar

Mani Shankar Aiyar

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks on Narendra Modi drew immediate criticism from the BJP.

Even Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, an ally of the Congress, said such mockery of the humble background of Mr. Modi would not help the UPA’s prospects in any way.

Mr. Aiyar refused to apologise, blaming the media for the controversy. “I said that Modi has demonstrated after being named the BJP candidate that he knows no history, that he knows little economics that he has no knowledge of the Constitution that he does not know the law of the land and that his economic model for Gujarat does not include the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the minorities. So what does that leave him with? He keeps saying make me Prime Minister as I began life selling tea. Fine if that’s his main qualification and he wants a stall here, we can let him sell tea here.”

During his speech, Mr. Aiyar had also said: “I give you my word that in 21st century Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country.”

Reacting to Mr. Aiyar’s comments, the BJP said the remarks illustrate the Congress party’s “poor thinking”.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely tweeted: “The strength of Indian democracy will be proved when a former tea vendor defeats a dynasty representative. Let this be the battle of 2014.”

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Mr. Aiyar’s comments were not only in poor taste, but were also an insult to the unprivileged.

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