Jinnah portrait row: Mani Shankar Aiyar sparks fresh controversy, calls Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam

With the row over the portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah in AMU intensifying, comments by Mani Shankar Aiyar have sparked new political outrage

FP Staff May 06, 2018 10:37:39 IST
Jinnah portrait row: Mani Shankar Aiyar sparks fresh controversy, calls Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam

With the row over the portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) intensifying and protests even reaching the national capital, comments by suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar have sparked new political outrage on Saturday. In the context of the violence that unfolded in AMU, Aiyar referred to Jinnah as Quaid-e-Azam (the great leader) — as the founder of Pakistan is often referred to in the nation — immediately triggering a controversy over Jinnah's legacy.

Aiyar was speaking at a public event in Pakistan.

Jinnah portrait row Mani Shankar Aiyar sparks fresh controversy calls Pakistans founder QuaideAzam

File image of Mani Shankar Aiyar. Reuters

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah took to Twitter to hit out at Aiyar, alleging "amazing telepathy" between the Congress party and Pakistan.

"Yesterday, Pakistan government remembered Tipu Sultan, whose Jayanti Congress marks with fanfare and today, Aiyar admires Jinnah. Be it Gujarat or Karnataka polls, I fail to understand why Congress involves Pakistan," Amit Shah tweeted on Saturday.

In February, Aiyar had sparked another controversy when he had said that he received "much more hatred in India" than the love he receives in Pakistan. Aiyar added that while there has been a change in mindset across the border, India is still caught in a "partially 1947 situation".

Senior Congress leaders reacted strongly to these remarks, while some wrote to party president Rahul Gandhi to urge him to expel Aiyar. "Being such an educated person, he is making such frivolous statements. Because of him, this generation is suffering. Better he should stop talking such weird things because it can distract majority workers of Congress party," Congress leader Hanumantha Rao had said.

Aiyar was suspended from the Congress' primary membership after he triggered a storm by calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a neech aadmi (vile man), a comment which was being seen fraught with adverse consequences for the party in poll-bound Gujarat.

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