Congress veteran Mani Shankar Aiyar launched a stinging attack on Narendra Modi on Thursday after the prime minister said the grand old party tried to erase the contribution of B R Ambedkar in nation-building. Aiyar said the comments by the PM showed his low-level mindset and one bereft of any manners. “Mujhko lagta hai ki ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, isme koi sabhyata nahi hai. Aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai? (This shows the low-level mindset of the PM and one bereft of any manners. What is the need of doing such dirty politics on such an occassion),” ANI quoted Aiyar as saying.
In his speech after inaugurating the Ambedkar International Centre at Janpath in the national capital, which was conceived 23 years ago, the PM said political parties who sought votes in the name of Ambedkar were perhaps not even aware that the project was pending and asserted only after BJP came to power that it was fast-tracked. “Such was his (Ambedkar) incredible strength, that when years after his demise efforts were made by such people to crush his philosophy, when efforts were made to erase his contribution towards nation-building, his ideals could not be wiped outfrom people’s memory,” the PM said, taking an apparent dig at the Congress.
However, Aiyar said the person who helped Ambedkar realise his dreams was Jawaharlal Nehru and Modi should not shame the “family” at public events. “There was only one person who helped Ambedkar realise his dreams…that was Jawaharlal Nehru. Modi should not speak such bad words about the family. This shows the dirty mindset of the PM,” Aiyar said.
This is the second time that Aiyar had spoken out against Modi in a week. On Monday, Modi had took off on part of a remark made by Aiyar on the criticism directed at the Congress presidential election and compared Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as party chief to “Aurangzeb raaj”. Later, Aiyar said the PM should check facts and accused him of distorting his statement.
Retorting to Aiyar, PM Modi said Congress leaders were speaking in a language that was not acceptable in a democracy. “One Congress leader, who has studied in best institutions, served as a diplomat, was a minister in Cabinet, he said Modi is ‘neech’. This is insulting. This is nothing but a Mughlai mindset,” Modi said at a rally in Surat, his last before the fist phase of elections on December 9.
Modi said the people of Gujarat would give a fitting answer for using such deplorable language. “What all have they called us – donkeys, neech, gandi naali ke keede…maut ka saudagar. We will answer them for their mindset by our votes on 9th and 14th,” the PM said.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad waded into the controversy, saying Aiyar’s comments revealed his “darbaari mindset”. “Mani Shankar Aiyar has called Modi ‘neech’ but we are proud of our prime minister. He has answered (Aiyar) very politely and sensibly. Aiyar’s mindset is a ‘darbaari’ one,” Prasad said.