Mani Shankar Aiyar (Left), PM Modi (Right)
Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar seems to be causing more trouble to the party at the time of Lok Sabha elections, not only with his words but also his action.
On Tuesday, Aiyar pushed aside a microphone, made fists and used an expletive at reporters who questioned him about his ‘neech’ jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also called the prime minister a coward.
Aiyar lost his temper at tv reporters who met him at the Punjab government guest house here and questioned him over an article he wrote, recalling a slur he directed at Modi in 2017.
“Don't you know there is a person in India, Narendra Modi. Haven't you heard about his sharp attacks. Go and ask him questions,” he told them in Hindi.
“No, he doesn't talk to you as he is a coward. He doesn't talk to the media,” he said.
Then he raised his arms, waiving them about in an apparent imitation of Modi.
He also made a fist at the reporters and pushed away a microphone. “You won't ask me any question,” he warned one of them. He then used an expletive in English, while asking them to leave.
With another set of reporters during the day, Aiyar was calmer. He said it was just one line in his article and he will not get involved in media's "games". "I am a fool, but not such a big fool," he said.
Aiyar was back in the news on Tuesday with an article justifying his "neech" slur against Narendra Modi, and also calling him the most "foul-mouthed" prime minister the country has seen.
The article, published in Rising Kashmir and The Print, drew condemnation from the Congress and the BJP, which called Aiyar "abuser-in-chief" and described his party as arrogant.
Addressing an election rally, Modi attacked Aiyar and the Congress, saying he takes such abuses as "gifts" and the public will respond to each and every abuse by electing the BJP.
In the article, just days before the last phase of voting for the high-stakes Lok Sabha polls, Aiyar said, "Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?"
In 2017, the former Union minister called Modi "neech aadmi" following which he was suspended from the Congress party.
Justifying the slur, Aiyar wrote, "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?"
The Congress condemned Aiyar's remarks with chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hinting at action against the veteran Congress leader saying, "appropriate forum in the party will definitely look at it and take appropriate action".
Earlier in the day, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao put out a tweet saying "Abuser-in-chief Aiyar" had returned to justify his 2017 'neech' jibe.
"...Aiyar then apologized and hid behind poor Hindi excuse. Now he says he was prophetic. Congress revoked his suspension last year for filthy outburst. Double speak and arrogance of @INCIndia on display again!" he said.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill earlier said his party is not on the back foot over Aiyar's remarks and it should be Modi instead, who should be ashamed for his remarks on former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
BJP's IT Cell head Amit Malviya referred to Congress leader Sam Pitroda's "hua to hua" remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and said, "Upset that Sam Pitroda was getting all the attention, the irrepressible Mani Shankar Aiyar pulls Pitroda's foot out of his mouth and puts it in his...Reiterates and justifies his ‘neech' comment for PM!".
In the article, Aiyar said he has found out why Modi "loathes" Jawaharlal Nehru so much -- because Nehru had a degree in 'Natural Sciences' from the University of Cambridge, and was convinced that to pull Indians out of superstition, modern India must cultivate a "scientific temper".
Aiyar said this drives Hindutva supporters "nuts because they like to believe the 'udan khatolas' of mythology were the earliest F-16s to be invented by Hindus, and that Hindu plastic surgery, not a transplant operation, is what led to an elephant's head surmounting Lord Ganesh."
"Both these stunningly illiterate claims come from the mouth of none less than the Prime Minister of our country, whose acquaintance with higher education has gone no further than lying about degrees from Delhi and Gujarat universities that he never got and who can obviously not tell a scientific proposition from a ‘dhokla'," Aiyar wrote.
He referred to Modi's recent comment that he ordered the Indian Air Force to strike at Balakot despite a heavy cloud cover because he believed that this would allow Indian jets to evade Pakistani radar.
"Did Modi take his senior-most Air Force officers for fools that he could trot out such ridiculous unscientific rubbish before them? And were they so pusillanimous that they dared not correct such a vacuous Prime Minister?" he wrote.