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Posted at: Dec 8, 2017, 2:22 AM; last updated: Dec 8, 2017, 10:30 AM (IST)

PM invokes Gujarati pride, ‘reply via votes’

PM invokes Gujarati pride, ‘reply via votes’

Our Correspondent

Surat, December 7

Latching on to suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” jibe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invoked “Gujarat pride” and said the people of the state would give a befitting answer to the Congress through “ballot boxes for the grave insult to son of the soil.” 

Addressing a rally in the diamond city of Surat while wrapping up campaign for the first phase of polling on Saturday, Modi said, “It is an insult to Gujarat and all Gujaratis and the Congress will realise the price it will have to pay for such uncivilised comments and ‘Mughlai’ mentality to call everyone else as vile and low-category people. To me, it does not matter, whether ‘neech’ or not, I will continue to live among the poor and work for their and the country’s welfare.” 

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Aiyar’s comments provided the fodder to Modi to launch a scathing attack on the Congress, rejuvenating the depleting morale of the BJP workers facing a relatively tough challenge from the Congress. The largely-attended meeting in the Patidar-dominated area of Surat was reverberating with the slogan of “Modi, Modi” as the Prime Minister kept throwing arsenals towards the Congress.

Modi claimed it was not the first time the Congress leaders had used abusive terms against him and Gujarat. “You have called me an ass, a worm in the dirt (‘gandi naali ka kida’), and now ‘neech’,” he claimed and asked the audience, “Have I done anything wrong, anything ‘neech’ to deserve this certificate from one of the senior leaders of the Congress? Is not it an insult to Gujarat to call one of its son of the soil a ‘neech’ man? Is not it an insult to the high traditions of India,” a charged Modi kept repeatedly asking the audience. 

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who too was in Surat, described Aiyar’s comment as a “reflection of the Congress’ feudal mindset” and thinking that only the Congress was fit to rule the country. He refused to believe that the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was unaware of Aiyar’s comment on Modi. 

Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala told mediapersons in Ahmedabad that Rahul had disapproved of Aiyar’s comment and rebuked him for making such derogatory remarks against the Prime Minster. He said the party had released yet another set of rules of conduct not to indulge in any kind of loose comments on any issue and to give due respect to the office of the Prime Minister. But Surjewala also demanded an apology from Modi for “insulting” Dr Ambedkar. 

Shah lists past slurs 

New Delhi: Past record shows that whenever PM Modi has been slurred by political opponents, it has always worked well for the party.  It came true in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when Mani Shankar Aiyar predicted that Modi (then BJP candidate for the post), a “chaiwala”, would never become the PM. Priyanka Vadra had also accused Modi of indulging in “neech rajniti”. The results were for all to see, a reason the BJP is projecting Aiyar’s remark as an insult to PM’s caste (backward classes). 

BJP leaders, who were battling with predictions of a neck-on-neck fight, now claim Aiyar’s remark has propelled the party close to the 150-seat mark. BJP chief Amit Shah claimed Aiyar’s remark reflected Congress’ “inherent upper class mindset against so-called low born”. “Yamraj, maut ka saudagar, Ravan, gandi nali ka keeda, gangu teli, Bhasmasur, monkey, rabies victim and virus. These are some words or phrases the Congress has used for the PM in the past. Not much has changed. We wish them well. We will continue to serve 125 crore Indians,” said Shah. — Vibha Sharma


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