No More Jeers: PM Modi’s ‘Khan Market gang’ comment is a sharp retort to the elitism of Sam Pitroda and Mani Shankar Aiyar

Does the Congress need the elitism of Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sam Pitroda at the fag end of a very volatile — and vile — election campaign?

Will Aiyar reiterating his controversial stance, calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘neech aadmi’, help the Congress appear a more empathetic party with a moral high ground since it has based its campaign on love and ‘Nyay

Every now and then, when Rahul Gandhi manages to take a break from his “Chowkidar chor hai” sloganeering, he seems to remind himself to bring the focus back to love and empathy. The Congress President has been talking about speaking the language of love, but the party’s leaders have not been far behind the BJP in spewing hate and flaunting callous arrogance.

Look at the two recent cases of Aiyar and Pitroda, one commenting on PM Modi apparently being a lowly person and the other brushing aside a question on the 1984 Sikh riots with sheer disdain. These may not be issues which make or break an election but Congress leaders like Aiyar and Pitroda seem to be handing out evocative campaign issues to the BJP for sure.

It has also left Rahul Gandhi red-faced, with no option but to apologise and distance the party from the comments made. After his ‘neech aadmi jibe’ for Modi in 2017, Aiyar solicited a suspension — but he is back in the Congress and back at his ways.

He clearly didn’t learn any lessons — or didn’t want to. So, he wrote an article for Rising Kashmir which was reproduced by ThePrint in which he justified his ‘neech’ remark. While making fun of PM Modi’s cloud radar theory on the Balakot air-strikes, he compared Modi’s “stunningly illiterate claims” with former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s education to bring PM Modi down.

While Modi’s cloud radar theory is laughable, the comparison of his modest educational background to a Harrow and Trinity-educated Pandit Nehru reeks of a condescending attitude. By calling the PM “vacuous” and senior officers pusillanimous in his piece, Aiyar probably wanted to drive home his own superiority and the flaws of PM Modi — but instead, ended up only as a liability for the Congress.

It clearly is not something which would give the party any electoral gain.

In 2017, when Aiyar’s ‘neech aadmi’ comment sparked a massive controversy, it was used in the Gujarat Assembly elections by the BJP to show how the Congress resorted to personal attacks.

Earlier in 2014, when Aiyar flaunted his own educational pedigree and loudly purported sense of any class by commenting on Modi as a “chaiwala”, it was the beginning of a massive “Chai Pe Charcha” campaign. The BJP responded by launching the campaign — and Modi referred to himself as the chaiwalla. From then on in fact, Modi referred to himself as a chaiwala in all his rallies.

Boasting about the accuracy of his prediction, Aiyar showed no repentance later on either — rather, his rude and supercilious behaviour towards journalists on being questioned about his stand was further shocking.

Interestingly, Aiyar is not the only one who has created a nuisance for the party. Sam Pitroda, the overseas chief of Congress, trumped Aiyar with his comments on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots by showing how insensitive he really is.

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