'Chaiwala' jibe against Modi: How Congress is often falling into BJP’s ‘well-oiled PR machine’ trap
New Delhi, July 9: What the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wishes, the Congress delivers generously.
First, it was senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, who with a smug on his face, called then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi a "chaiwala" or tea seller at a huge party gathering ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Result: The Congress had to bear the brunt of a humiliating defeat at the hands of the "chaiwala". While Modi became the Prime Minister and still continues to sell "stories" about his humble childhood as a "chaiwala" across the globe, the Gandhi family is yet to overcome the 2014 trauma and is still sulking and crying bitterly over its own 'self-inflicted' wound.
Out of all the campaigns started by the BJP's mammoth PR machine, the "chaiwala PM" is probably the most successful one which always connect with the poor aam aadmi (common man) of the country.
By calling himself a "chaiwala" and narrating his struggles (before he sat on the most coveted throne) in almost all public meetings, the PM's attempt is to immediately identify himself with the millions of "poor" Indians. The crowd sees Modi as one of them--a representation of their struggles, hard work, hopes, and aspirations.
But who will tell the Congress that one should hit its enemy where it hurts the most, not the other way round. The Congress--which suffers from an elitist and a feudal mindset as the party even after 70 years of Indian Independence can't look beyond the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty to rule over the country--thought that calling Modi a "chaiwala" will demean his stature as the head of the nation.
So the Congress repeated the same mistake.
Last year, the Indian Youth Congress took a dig at the PM by tweeting a "chaiwala" meme about him. The "crass, classist and anti-poor" meme backfired as the Congress lost the Gujarat Assembly elections last year.
During the Gujarat poll campaign, Modi once again proudly called himself a "chaiwala" and the crowd responded with thunderous applause and votes.
It seems the Congress never learns its lessons. The grand old party's amnesia is so well-ingrained that it could not stop itself from committing the same blunder again and again.
Just months ahead of the big Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the Congress attacked Modi with the "chaiwala" jibe (Oh no, not again).
In a fit of rage, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge cried "chaiwala".
"PM Modi has been asking at every function about what the Congress has done for the country in the last 70 years. A chaiwala like him could become the PM because we preserved democracy," said Kharge at a function in Mumbai on Sunday.
He added, "Modi speaks about the Emergency that happened 43 years back, but what about the undeclared Emergency in last 4 years? Farmers are committing suicide, agricultural schemes are failing, farmers aren't getting new loans and trade is on slow track."
The latest criticism against Modi attracted wide-scale condemnation for the Congress.
On social media platforms, the Congress was slammed for denigrating the PM--a position that should not be at the receiving end of vile and personal attack.
The Congress is probably unaware that both the online and offline supporters of Modi are very active and brutal, and they don't take any criticism against their "boss" lightly.
Thus tweets after tweets lambasted the Congress for claiming to "preserve the democracy" of the country and giving a "chaiwala" a chance to become the PM.
A Twitter-user reminded the Congress that "the chaiwala who actually wasn't, used you (Kharge) as his PR enablers but old men of the grand old party haven't learned a lesson yet!"
"Chaiwala could become PM because Congress preserved democracy, says Mallikarjun Kharge"— Arun Shourie Unofficial (@FeignShourie) July 8, 2018
The Chaiwala who actually wasn't, used you as his PR enablers but old men of grand old party haven't learned a lesson yet!
The Twitter user is right in stating that probably Modi was never a "chaiwala" and Kharge like his colleagues were being literally hoodwinked to fall into the BJP's trap-- built on "lies".
An RTI query in 2015 had revealed that there is no record available that shows the PM was a tea seller on railway platforms or trains during his childhood. But who cares about facts and figures in times of fake news, when the Congress too found it fit to attack its most powerful adversary with a jibe that the PM has proudly embraced over the years.
As witnessed in the past, the Congress once again got a good thrashing from Modi bhakts (fans) after Kharge targeted the PM with the "chaiwala slang". The Congress' criticism against Modi was once again seen as an attack on the nation.
The supporters of Modi reminded the grand old party of all its past sins and mistakes. The social media users have asked the Congress to play a constructive role as an opposition party instead of making personal attacks against the PM.
Cong, again back with their Sacrcastic jibe " Chaiwaala", becoming PM!— #gurukulsukanya iyer (@sukanyaiyer2) July 9, 2018
Mallikarjun kharge ji let me remind U, this is nt the way U demean Nations PM, if you cared so much 4 Democracy,Y U didn't Award BharatRatna to Dr.Ambedkar! Becoz of Dark days of Emergency,Ecy was Shattered pic.twitter.com/Mmx7y9yo7i
Is that not true Mallikarjun Kharge. The Congress had wasted 70 years of mandate that had been given to it. The Prime Minister is quite right in pointing this out to you. Stop this blame game and learn to be inclusive in the National affairs, without putting up a sham drama.— K V Raghuram (@RaghuramWyd) July 9, 2018
#MondayMotivation— 🇮🇳 Pradeep Kumar 🇮🇳 (@GudduKumarm2272) July 9, 2018
Mallikarjun Kharge has forgot that @RahulGandhi supported Anti-National slogans in JNU & killed Democracy.
Congress also supported the terrorists, but abused Indian Army. pic.twitter.com/yQzlCcH9oW
After Kharge put his foot in his mouth and the Congress got trolled, it would be interesting to see what the party chief Rahul Gandhi had to say about the latest controversy.
Or will the Congress commit another "political suicide" over its favourite "chaiwala" remark in the near future too?