New Delhi, Nov 21: An online magazine of the Congress' youth wing today set off a political firestorm with a meme about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'chaiwala' past, provoking a backlash from the ruling BJP, and prompting a red-faced Congress to distance from it.
The meme contained photographs of Modi, US president Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May engaged in a conversation. Modi is seen telling the two leaders about the opposition's memes targeting him. He mispronounces the word as "mainmain". Trump corrects him, saying the word is pronounced as "meem", while May tells him to go and sell tea.
The potentially damaging meme circulated ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls was deleted soon after it was put out, and the Congress distanced itself from it, saying the party disapproves of and rejects such humour. However, the opposition party was excoriated by the ruling BJP. "This blatantly classist and anti-poor Tweet by the Youth Congress shows their mindset towards Indias poor. Does Crown Prince @OfficeOfRG support this?" Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said in a tweet.
Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, J P Nadda and Piyush Goyal also hit out at the Congress over the post. The official Twitter handle of BJP chief Amit Shah retweeted all such posts put out by the ministers. "The arrogance of the Congress Party and shameful anti- poor stand gets exposed from the official twitter of the Youth Congress that a person born in poverty in the family of a tea vendor cannot become the Prime Minister. No lessons learnt. Insulting popular mandate.
"Madam Sonia Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi do you still believe that only you have a divine right to rule India? Country expects your response on the tweet of the youth Congress, which is shameful and insulting to poor. You can delete the Tweet but your thinking towards the poor stands exposed," Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a series of tweets.
Seeking to do control the damage, Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala said, "Congress strongly disapproves and rejects such humour through memes. Differences on policy and opinion aside, Congress culture imbibes respect for PM and all political opponents."