In his over enthusiasm to please his bosses, senior Congress leader and a staunch Gandhi-Nehru family loyalist Mani Shankar Aiyar might have called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘neech aadmi.’ Had he had any inclination that his abuse of the country’s prime minister would unleash a storm of protests from within his own party and the ruling BJP, he wouldn’t have shot himself in his foot.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, instead of viewing Aiyar’s lambast as a riposte to Modi calling Congress leaders names, suspended him from the primary membership of the party. His action came a day after Aiyar badmouthing Modi on Wednesday.
Of course, Aiyar had given a long explanation and a sort of apology and blamed his faux pas on his poor understanding and nuances of Hindi language which was not convincing. However, the fact remains that Aiyar has been in the habit of shooting his mouth off and paid dearly for his indiscretion.
While some BJP leaders, including Modi and party chief Amit Shah, are squirming over ‘neech’ and hitting out at Congress, the Grand Old Party has cleverly turned the tables on the saffron party.
Without reacting to Modi’s blistering anti-Congress campaign in Gujarat which votes in the first phase of Assembly elections on Saturday, Congress has asked the BJP leadership whether it could take similar action as Rahul had taken against its cadre to uphold decency and moral and ethical values in public life.
“Will the Prime Minister take action against his colleagues for using foul and abusive language against Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and other party leaders? That will help in restoring the dignity of our political discourse,” Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said on Friday.
Sharma said Aiyar’s comments against Modi “are distasteful and unacceptable and Congress culture and traditions do not allow such statements. Rahul Gandhi has disapproved and the Congress has taken action.”
Echoing Sharma’s observations, another Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said, “Rahul Gandhi displayed morality and suspended Mani Shankar Aiyar. On the same yardstick, if Modiji shows the same morality then Modiji will have to suspend himself, as he used some bad words for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, besides against other leaders.”
In this country, it is not new political rivals calling each other names, particularly during poll campaigns. But in recent times, every political leader is trying to outwit the other by using the most abusive language which even ordinary people won’t use in street fights.
Rahul Gandhi’s swift action against his senior colleague should be seen as a welcome first step towards cleansing the political system of language abusers. Will the BJP reciprocate it without dismissing the Congress leader’s action as a poll gimmick?