Days before the final phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi, is going to the polls, veteran Congress leader and Gandhi family loyalist Mani Shankar Aiyar has called his “Neech” (vile person) comment on Modi a prophesy that has come to be true.
In an article in The Print web portal, published on May 13, Aiyar wrote “Modi will, in any case, be ousted by the people of India on 23 May. That would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see. Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?”
The reference was to his remark made days before Gujarat Assembly polls when he said “Mujhko lagta hai ki ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, isme koi sabhyata nahi hai”, which can be roughly translated as “I feel that this man (PM Modi) is a very lowly and vile person. There is no decency in him.”
The Congress suspended him from the party, following the comment. Mani Shankar Aiyer, then blamed it on his poor Hindi. But the damage was done by then, as against all predictions, the party lost Gujarat polls to the BJP. And commentators attributed the loss to Aiyer’s “Neech” attack on Modi.
Ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections too, Aiyer sought to humiliate Narendra Modi, the BJP prime ministerial candidate, with a “Chaiwala” (tea seller) jibe, referring to the fact that Modi’s father had a tea stall where the son lent a helping hand often.
Aiyer had said: “I promise you that in this 21st century, Narendra Modi can never become the Prime Minister of India, never, never, never; if he wants, he can come and distribute tea at the meet here”.
The jibe proved a huge self goal as Narendra Modi used it to his advantage pointing at “the elitist mindset of Congress leaders against common people”, instantly striking a chord with voters in his campaign.
In November 2015, Aiyer was seen telling a Pakistani TV channel that Pakistan should remove Modi government and bring back Congress to power in order to improve ties between the two neighbors. Will poll results on May 23 fulfill the long-standing wish of Mani Shankar Aiyer or his “Neech prophecy” will turn out to be the third self goal? Just none days to go to see it.