New Delhi, Feb 13: Oops, Mani Shankar Aiyar did it again.
After being suspended from the Congress for his "neech aadmi" (low-born man) remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Gujarat Assembly elections in December last year, Aiyar is once again hogging the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
Thanks to his "foot in mouth disease", Aiyar once again made a controversial statement, that too in Pakistan. At the Karachi Literature Festival on Sunday, Aiyar stated that "I love Pakistan because I love India". He added, urging India to "love thy neighbour as thyself".
Aiyar said dialogue was the only way for India and Pakistan to resolve their tussle. He said he is "proud" that Islamabad has accepted this, but "half very sad" that New Delhi has not, Geo TV reported on Monday.
Aiyar's latest statements regarding India-Pakistan dialogue has come at a time when the Indian security forces are fighting to neutralise Pakistani-sponsored terrorists in both Jammu and Srinagar in the last few days.
On Monday evening, critics of the Congress and Aiyar stated that the veteran politician has insulted India by saying that he was "proud of Pakistan".
Even some news television channels had high-voltage discussion over Aiyar's Pakistan comments. It is not only Aiyar who wants India to have a dialogue with Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti too favours talks between the two hostile neighbours.
"Dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end bloodshed. I know I will be labelled anti-national by news anchors tonight but that doesn't matter. The people of J&K are suffering. We have to talk because war is not an option," tweeted Mufti.
On Tuesday, the Congress indicated that Aiyar might face "punishment" for his latest comments.
"Aiyar should stop giving such remarks. He has already been suspended. He should stay quiet. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can take advantage of this. I am writing to Rahul Gandhi ji asking him to expel Aiyar from the party," senior Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao was quoted as saying by ANI.
Mani Shankar Aiyar should stop giving such remarks, he has already been suspended. He should stay quiet. BJP can take advantage of this. I am writing to Rahul Gandhi ji asking him to expel Aiyar from the party: V. Hanumantha Rao, Congress on Aiyar's remarks on Pakistan pic.twitter.com/4QN4bbHvSO— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2018
Aiyar's past remarks "neech aadmi" and "chaiwallah" (tea-seller) against PM Modi have cost the Congress heavily during elections.
The Congress fears that such "loose" statements by party leaders might harm the electoral prospects of the grand old party in the upcoming elections in several states and the all-important Lok Sabha polls in 2019.