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Mani Shankar Aiyar Uses Mughal Example to Defend Rahul’s Elevation

It is clear from Aiyar’s full statement that he did not compare the Congress to the Mughals while talking about the party’s presidential election.

Mani Shankar Aiyar Uses Mughal Example to Defend Rahul’s Elevation: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar landed in controversy on Monday when he invoked rulers of the Mughal dynasty to defend Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as party chief.

Rahul Gandhi filed the nomination papers for party presidency and was likely to be elected unopposed, invoking “dynasty” jibes form the BJP.

Hitting back at BJP leaders, Aiyar said: “When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any election happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go to the heir.”

“But in a democracy elections are held. I openly invite Poonawalla to file the nomination and contest,” Aiyar said, referring to the rebellion by Maharashtra Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla.

Mani Shankar Aiyar Uses Mughal Example to Defend Rahul's ElevationAiyar later sought to clarify, saying the comparisons should not be made. “Don’t compare both. During Mughal rule it was understood that after Jehangir, Shahjahan will be the leader but here anyone is free to contest against Rahul Gandhi. It’s a totally democratic process.”

The damage, however, was done, with PM Modi using Aiyar’s remarks to attack Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Gujarat.

Addressing a public meeting in Dharampur constituency, Modi said: “Mani Shankar Aiyar, who never shies away from showing loyalty to one family, proudly said — When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any elections happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go the son,” Modi said.

“I congratulate the Congress on their ‘Aurangzeb Raj’. For us, the well-being of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command,” he said.

This is perhaps the second time the PM has used one of Aiyar’s remarks to his advantage after the latter’s ‘chaiwala’ jibe in the run-up to the 2014 elections.

Aiyar had at an AICC meeting in January 2014 said, “He (Modi) can only sell tea.”

The BJP latched onto the comment during campaigning, stressing on Modi’s “humble roots”.

While Aiyar is known to have made some controversial statements in the past, including the infamous chaiwala remark, this is a definite instance of an incomplete statement being quoted out of context for political motives. Aiyar’s statement highlighting the difference between the party’s presidential election and dynastic rule under the Mughals was mischievously clipped and given credence to by none other than the prime minister. The Congress leader’s line that the process of electing the party president is democratic was conveniently glossed over to suit a particular narrative.

Ek to, jab Jahangir ke jagah Shahjahaan aaye, tab koi election hua? Jab Shahjahaan ke jagah Aurganzaeb aaye, tab koi election hua? Nai. Pehle se pata tha, ki jo bhi badshaah hai, unke aulaad jo hai, woh hi banenge, woh bhi banenge, aapas mein lade to alag baat hai. Lekin, democracy mein chunaav hota hai, aur Shehzaad Punawala ko amantran mein de raha hoon, ki aapko yahaan aake khada hona ho to aap pahonch jaiye, application dijiye, aapne kabhi Shehzad Poonawala ka naam pehle kabhi suna tha?

(“When Shahjahan took the place of Jahangir, was any election held then? When Aurangzeb succeeded Shahjahan, was any election held then? This was always known that the heir to the emperor will inherit power, although it is another matter if the successors fight among themselves. But, in a democracy, elections are held. I invite [Congress functionary] Shehzad Poonawala to come and file an application to contest the election.”)

It is clear from the video that Aiyar did not draw a parallel between the Mughals and the Congress. However, that did not prevent prominent BJP functionaries from tweeting this incomplete video on ABP

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