Neech remark overshadows ‘development' in BJP's campaign in Gujarat
Ever since Mani Shankar Aiyar called Prime Minister Narendra Modi "neech aadmi", the BJP seems to have totally forgotten that development was the main plank of its Gujarat elections campaign. In every rally since then, PM Modi has raked up the issue not only to launch a blistering attack against Aiyar but also to woo voters.
PM Modi, who is a master at using almost any situation to his political advantage, totally repackaged "neech" jibe and presented it as an attack on Gujarati people or Gujarati Asmita. He linked Aiyar's remark with his background, poverty, caste and built a really effective narrative that could emerge as a decisive factor in Gujarat Assembly elections.
He recalled all that Congress had said about him in the past like Aiyar's "chai wallah" jibe, also aimed at Modi ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's "maut ka saudagar" (merchant of death) comment dating back to 2007, also targeting Modi.
Modi, campaigning in Gujarat ahead of the first phase of polling to the state assembly on Saturday, lost no time in terming Aiyar's remark an "insult to Gujarat's pride".
The Congress rushed into damage control mode and Aiyar apologised after being chastised by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. He was later suspended from the primary membership of the party but the damage may have already been done.