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Congress disapproves Mani Shankar Aiyar`s `tea vendor` jibe at Narendra Modi

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 08:37

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Seeking to distance itself from the controversy brewing over its leader Mani Shankar Aiyar`s jibe on the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the Congress has disapproved of Aiyar`s comments.

Talkin to anews agency, Ajay Maken, the Congress general secretary, said, “The party does not approve of the statement".
A couple of months after Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal mocked Narendra Modi`s prime ministerial ambitions by scoffing at his humble background, the `tea seller` remark was once again was raked up, this time by the Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Jeering at `Modi as PM` notion, Aiyar had said that the Gujarat Chief Minister “cannot become the prime minister in the 21st century”.

He further said that Modi could instead “come and sell tea here at the AICC meet and we will make arrangements.”

The BJP reacted quickly to the unpalatable comment by Mani Shankar Aiyar, with Arun Jaitley tweeting, "The strength of Indian democracy will be proved when a former tea vendor defeats a dynasty`s representative. Let this be the battle of 2014."

Also, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar called Aiyar an "icon of cheap thinking".

However, besides the arch-rival party, Aiyar`s comments did not have any takers within his own party.

Interestingly, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to lash out at Aiyar for his ``tea vendor` barb against Modi, warning that mocking Modi won`t benefit their poll campaign”.

“Modi has a lot of negatives but his humble origins are a positive some of us can`t claim. We aren`t helping our campaign by mocking him,” Omar tweeted.

Earlier, Congress leader P Chidambaram had tried to downplay Aiyar`s remarks, saying "the tea vendor argument is being taken too far". 

“The Congress can name hundreds of leaders who have started from modest backgrounds. The fact that modesty is being trumpeted shows their immodesty, not modesty," he said.

First Published: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 06:16

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