As voting ends in Gujarat for the phase I election, politics is yet on its peak for the IInd phase. The BJP continuing to project Mani Shankar Aiyar’s recent remark as an insult to the ‘son of Gujarat’, an insult to the entire state and a very casteist slur.
BJP senior leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also called the expulsion of Mani Shankar Aiyar from the party a strategy and tweeted, “Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘Neech’ -attack on Prime Minister- a deliberate casteist statement, a convenient apology, a strategic suspension. People should see through this game.”
“The Congress Party has challenged the weaker and backward sections of India by calling the Prime Minister as ’Neech’. The strength of India’s Democracy will be displayed when a person of humble background politically defeats the dynasty and its representatives”, he said in another tweet.
Aiyar’s comment on the Prime Minister is criticised by everyone including Congress and RJD as Lalu Prasad Yadav said, “Shankar Aiyar is mentally not fit,” when asked for his reaction. Rahul Gandhi also asked Senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar to apologize for his comment. However, the BJP caught this provocative comment as an opportunity and paddled it fully to gather outrage around it.
PM Modi also hit back at Congress after this remark and grabbed it as an opportunity offered to him on a platter. He said at a rally, “The people of Gujarat will take revenge on December 18 and teach you the precise meaning of neech”.
“You called us donkey, you called us ‘gandi nali ka kida’, you called us ‘maut ka saudagar’, you said I am of ‘neech jaati’ and ‘neech’. But we will live according to our ‘sanskars’,” he said in another rally at Surat.
Experts are taking this hectic effort of the BJP and PM Modi to gather the outrage around this comment as an effort to energize their fragmented campaign because the issues from which BJP had consolidated votes and benefited for the last two decades are not working this time. According to political gurus, Congress is breaching in that citadel of the BJP very effectively. Rahul Gandhi tried to break the spell of ‘Hindutva’ by visiting different temples in Gujarat and also showing the ‘Janau’ claiming that his family is shivbhakts. Apart from this congress is trying to chip away BJP blocks by raising issues of good governance and caste.
Congress is trying to take the lead from the anti-incumbency emerged in the state against BJP due to various issues whether it is farmer’s distress, the dissatisfaction of Patidars from ‘Gujrat Model’, Dalit’s unrest due to Una incident, discontent over demonetisation and disastrous implementation of GST. These have added up in favour of Congress in Gujarat. The Congress Party is fighting their tooth and nail by distributing tickets among distressed social groups or by portraying itself in support of their leaders.