Modi tears into Aiyar again while Rahul attempts damage control
Mani Shankar Aiyar's "neech" remark has truly left the Congress cornered as it seems to have given the BJP's attacks a clear direction a day before first phase of voting in Gujarat. All that Rahul Gandhi can now do is to minimise the damage that Aiyar's remark has caused.
PM Modi pounced on Aiyar with renewed vigour. Yesterday the Prime Minister had said that people of Gujarat would give answer to Congress for Aiyar's "neech" remark.
Modi recalled what Aiyar had said during his visit to Pakistan last year and fired a fresh salvo.
"Mani Shankar Aiyar told people when he visited Pakistan- remove Modi from the way and then see what happens to India-Pakistan peace. What did he mean by removing me from the way? And what is my crime? That I have blessings of the people?" the PM said at a rally in Gujarat.
At another rally in Chhota Udaipur, Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi made a feeble attempt at damage control by saying that the Congress party acted against Aiyar.
"Congress party respects the post of Prime Minister. No one in the Congress can use demeaning language against the PM. Modi ji can say anything about us. That is why we took strict action against Mani Shankar Aiyar," Rahul said.
Rahul Gandhi had yesterday asked Aiyar to apologise to Modi as he does not "appreciate the tone and language" used by his senior party colleague.
Aiyar did listen to his boss, but the 'half-hearted' apology by Aiyar did not convince the Congress. Finally, the Congress decided to suspend its senior leader from the party's primary membership.