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Amit Malviya slams Mani Shankar Aiyar's reiteration of 'neech jibe', links it to Sam Pitroda's 'hua so hua' comment

The Bharatiya Janata Party's IT cell head Amit Malviya Tuesday hit out at reinstated Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for his "foot-in-mouth" comment over Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Responding to the name-calling in an opinion piece authored by Aiyar, Malviya tweeted that the Congress leader was perhaps upset at being left out from the race of making controversial remarks amid the rank and file of the Grand Old Party.

Aiyar had, in the piece published in The Printreasserted his 'neech aadmi (lowly man)' jibe that had cost him Congress membership for eight months. Aiyar said Modi will be ousted by the people of India on 23 May. "Modi will, in any case, be ousted by the people of India on 23 May. That would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see. Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?," Aiyar wrote in the piece in which he called the prime minister a liar, foul-mouthed, and someone who lacked statesmanship and higher education.

He did not specifically reiterate the controversial jibe but made his point clear by referring to the date the said remark was made on. “Ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai. Is mein koi sabhyata nahi hai aur aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai (This man is a low-life person, he isn't cultured... at this moment why does he need to practice such dirty politics?),” he had told news agency ANI on 7 December 2017, after Modi accused Congress of "systematically undermining Ambedkar's legacy."

At the time, Aiyar had even apologised for the comment, which had whipped up a political storm, forcing Congress president Rahul Gandhi to publicly express his disapproval, and had sought to play it down by saying he did not understand the usage of the Hindi word very well and meant "neech" as "low-life", not "low-born."

Modi and the BJP, in the run up to the Gujarat Assembly elections, strategically played up the slur which has casteist undertones. ""Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in a democracy. One Congress leader, who has studied in best institutions, served as a diplomat, was a Minister in Cabinet, says Modi is 'Neech.' This is insulting. This is nothing but a Mughal mindset," Modi had said at a rally in Surat.

It was even argued in some editorials that the BJP playing up the casteist overtones in Aiyar's remark was some sort of political masterstroke.

However, nine months after he was reinstated to the party, Aiyar, by needlessly reiterating the controversial remark which was condemned even within his own party, seems to have regained his appetite for controversy.

This may especially spell trouble for Congress as another party leader Sam Pitroda was in BJP's line of fire for his "hua so hua" comment on the 1884 anti-Sikh riots.  Malviya was already prompt to make that connection in his aforementioned tweet.

The BJP has been craftily using the Opposition indiscretions to its advantage.

The case in point could be the famous maut ka saudagar jibe, which was an epithet for Modi coined by Sonia Gandhi in the 2007 Gujarat elections. Modi had overturned it to make it appear that Congress was soft on terrorism and was against his action against terrorists. He had swept the Assembly election, while the maut ka saudagar comment stuck on and is still raked up occasionally.

Besides, this was not the first time that Aiyar's controversial remarks provided election fodder to the BJP. He was also credited with insulting Modi's subaltern background by calling him a chaiwalla in the run-up to the 2014 election, an attack that the BJP masterfully used to highlight Modi's humble beginnings.

Aiyar had said that Modi would never become prime minister but he was welcome to serve tea to Congressmen at AICC meetings.

The BJP drew maximum political mileage out of the statement and went on to launch the 'Chai pe charcha' campaign which is arguably the most successful mass campaigns launched by the BJP, thus far.

More recently, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also invited BJP's ire for making an extremely personal attack on the prime minister. Unleashing a flurry of personal attacks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mayawati on Monday alleged that he "abandoned his wife for political gains", drawing angry reaction from the BJP which said the former UP chief minister has no respect for women and is "unfit for public life". Mayawati also alleged that women in the BJP are scared of their husbands meeting the prime minister fearing they might "abandon their wives like him" and that Modi deserves the abusive language used against him by the Opposition.

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Updated Date: May 14, 2019 13:04:45 IST