New Delhi, Dec 8: It was quite a day for veteran Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday. First, the former diplomat-turned-politician addressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “neech aadmi” (man of low birth and upbringing).
Modi, who is currently touring Gujarat as a part of the Assembly elections campaign, gave a “befitting” reply to Aiyar’s “neech” remark by dubbing such nasty comments against him as the Congress’ “Mughlai mentality”.
As a damage control measure, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asked Aiyar to apologise to Modi as he does not “appreciate the tone and language” used by his senior party colleague.
Aiyar did listen to his boss, but the ‘half-hearted’ apology by Aiyar did not convince the Congress. Finally, the Congress decided to suspend its senior leader from the party’s primary membership.
All these incidents, one after another, in a day’s time is too much for anyone to handle. But Aiyar too is a tough nut. After airing his neech view about the PM, Aiyar attended a talk on–“The Current State of India-Pakistan Relations”–held in the national capital on Thursday.
Pakistan’s former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri was also a part of the session. Aiyar stressed on the need to integrate Muslim population of India with the rest of the country during his talk. He added that the Indian Muslims should not be punished for the terror activities of a few men from their religion.
“The biggest issue of nation-building is integrating the Muslim community with the rest of the country. But there is a large section in India that believes Muslims were responsible for India’s vivisection and therefore draws parallel between Muslims who created Pakistan and Muslims who remained here,” Aiyar said.
“Are we going to integrate them (Muslims)? Can we do it if there is a hostile relationship with Pakistan? We are damaging our own nationhood by enabling Pakistan to continue being considered enemy territory for no reason other than that it is inhabited and created by Muslims,” the now suspended Congress leader added.
He suggested ways to consolidate the nation to create a united India.
“So we need to work out ways of consolidating our own nationhood and one very important aspect of that is somehow creating a relationship with Pakistan which will enable our Muslims to not be held responsible for what Hafiz Saeed does or did or will do,” he said.
Now, it remains to be seen how Aiyar, a trusted and loyal Congress leader, reacts to the news of his suspension which all started after he tried to defend his party over Modi’s allegations that the Congress had tried to “erase” Dr BR Ambedkar’s contributions to nation-building during a function to open the Ambedkar International Centre in the national capital on Thursday.