‘Chaiwallah’ then, ‘Neech’ now: War of words between Narendra Modi, Mani Shankar Aiyar brings back memories of Lok Sabha polls

In the run-up to the Gujarat elections, a war of words is on between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Attacking the Prime Minister, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday called Narendra Modi ‘neech’ (dishonourable)  and ‘asabhya’ (uncultured).

“Ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, is mein koi sabhyata nahi hai, aur aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai. (This man is extremely dishonourable and uncultured. He specialises in playing dirty politics), ” Aiyar said taking potshots at Modi.

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, hit back at Aiyar at a rally in Surat

claiming that the Congress leader’s statement is extremely insulting. “Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in a democracy. One Congress leader, who has studied in best institutions, served as a diplomat, was a Minister in Cabinet, he said ‘Modi is Neech’. This is insulting. This is nothing but a Mughalai mindset,” the PM said.

The attack and counter-attack between the two leaders has brought back memories of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when Aiyar took on Modi by calling him a ‘chaiwallah’.

“If he (Modi) wants, he can come and sell tea here at the All India Congress Committee meet,” Aiyar had said in 2014.

Modi had latched on to the opportunity. Many believe that it was the ‘chaiwallah’ barb on him that gave him a headway in the election and helped him win by a massive majority.

Modi had made the barb the center stage of the election using it as a proof to show the ‘arrogance of the Congress’. He and the BJP continuously said that those born in “high families” consider it an insult to fight polls against a “backward” candidate.

“They think they should fight in elections. They think they should win elections. But (to compete) against a chai wallah, they feel insulted,” Modi, the then PM candidate had said.

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