Aiyar's 'neech' remark cost Congress Gujarat, but no lessons learned
New Delhi, Nov 24: With elections being held in five states, political attacks, criticism, allegations and counter-allegations have become the order of the day. But, when political discourse deteriorates to such low levels that the Prime Minister of a country is called 'Manhoos' (inauspicious) and remarks are made on his caste, it makes one ponder whether dignity is still left in politics?
Attacking the Modi-led government on political issues is fine, but Congress must know that a personal attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi will only dent their chances of bouncing back in elections. Modi continues to reamin the most popular leader in India. People may have a loads of complaints with the the BJP government at the Centre, but people have faith in Modi.
Senior Congress leader from Rajasthan C P Joshi on Friday apologised for his casteist remarks after party chief Rahul Gandhi disapproved his comments and asked him to express regret. Joshi had reportedly said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP MP Uma Bharti and Hindu activist Sadhvi Ritambhara are from "lower castes" and know nothing of Hinduism. He had said it is the Brahmins who are learned and know of Hinduism.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, Raj Babbar, reportedly called PM Modi 'manhoos' (ominous) over the issue of rising fuel prices. Furthermore, Babbar compared the devalued rate of the Indian rupee to the PM's nonagenarian mother, who is around 97 years old.
Congress must recall what happened during the Gujarat elections last year. There was over 15 years of anti-incumbency in Gujarat when the state went to polls and the Congress had made right moves during the campaign to seize on this. But, days before the elections, Mani Shankar Aiyar dropped a bomb by calling PM Modi 'Neech', and this, many say, cost them Gujarat.
"Congress would have won Gujarat elections. Rahul Gandhi's soft Hindutva and temple visits had struck a chord among voters. Moreover, there was no leader in the Gujarat BJP who had Modi-like appeal. But, Aiyar's Neech remark totally changed it. You can see that BJP's victory victory margin was far less than compared to previous wons in Gujarat when Modi was at helm," a political observer told OneIndia.
Days following 'Neech' remark, BJP cadres left no stone unturned to magnify it out of proportions and build an effective counter narrative which eventually resulted in Congress losing Gujarat polls. Modi himself spoke on the issue and turned the table against Congress. Modi projected it as an attack on 'Gujarati asmita' and openly said that Congress dislikes him because he comes from a poor and humble background.
Madhya Pradesh, which will poll on November 28, and Rajasthan, which will vote on December 7, are big states where caste equations make a lot difference. CP Joshi's remark reeks of
'Brahiminic supremacy' which is something that the dalits thoroughly hate. How much damage has Joshi's remark done to the Congress is something that we ought to wait and watch?