Never used word `chaiwala` for Narendra Modi: Mani Shankar Aiyar

Mani Shankar Aiyar, the man whose verbal attack ultimately contributed to the thumping victory of the BJP, said he never used the word `chaiwala` (tea vendor) for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

By Kamna Arora | Updated: May 29, 2014, 11:01 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Mani Shankar Aiyar, the man whose verbal attack ultimately contributed to the thumping victory of the BJP, on Thursday said he never used the word `chaiwala` (tea vendor) for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress leader said it was Modi who himself told the world about his background.
Aiyar also defended a comment made by Congress president Sonia Gandhi`s daughter, Priyanka Gandhi, during the campaigning.

Priyanka made `neech` comment about Modi`s politics and his fans, like Hitler`s Goebbels, interpreted it differently.

Priyanka`s "neech rajniti" (low-level politics) barb at Narendra Modi got a caste spin when the then BJP prime ministerial candidate used it to play upon his `lower caste` identity.

In January, Aiyar told a news channel that Modi was free to sell tea at a Congress session.
However, Modi used Aiyar`s barb to his benefit and connected with people through his `chai pe charcha` programme. He, during his rallies, said the Congress had a "feudalistic mindset" and they were finding it difficult to adjust with someone who sold tea and was from a "backward caste".

A newspaper had earlier this month reported that Modi`s supporters gave Aiyar a "befitting reply" by setting up a tea stall in his name `while selling NaMo tea and falafel (a deep-fried dish) on Faramji Road behind the railway station in Vadodara district of Gujarat, from where Modi won the elections besides Varanasi`.

Aiyar lost from Mayiladuthurai constituency in Tamil Nadu in the General Elections.