BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday travelled to Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, the Lok Sabha constituency of the Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi. Launching a personal attack against Gandhi, the BJP chief asked the former to remove Italian glasses to see what he termed was the real development under the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
He said, “Rahul baba, you are wearing Italian glasses. You cannot see things from the Indian perspective.” This was in reference to the Italian origin of Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, who’s also the Congress president.
Attacking Gandhi by mocking his mother’s Italian origin has been a favourite tool for the BJP leaders for quite sometime. Only few days ago, Shah had made similar comments during his roadshow in Gujarat, which goes to polls in December.
He had said, “The Congress is asking us what the Narendra Modi government at the Centre has given Gujarat in these three years. I want to remind them that the Modi government approved AIIMS for Gujarat, an international airport for Rajkot, approval to raise the height of the Narmada dam and allocation of homes to six lakh urban poor.
“However, Rahul could not see any of this. He still asks what we have done in these three years. Rahul can’t see it because he is wearing Italian glasses. To be able to see the development, he needs to remove those spectacles and wear Gujarati glasses.”
However, Shah’s critics were quick to remind him that it was not Gandhi but his boss, Modi, who was fond of Italian glasses.
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) October 10, 2017
— NriDoctor (@atheist_bihar) October 10, 2017
Isn’t Bvlgari italian? Looks like someone else is wearing italian glasses. pic.twitter.com/hD1wTPELXy
— Hasiba (@HasibaAmin) October 10, 2017
In a piece titled “Here’s what Narendra Modi’s fashion says about his politics,” Washington Post had written in 2015, “Although Modi has a carefully cultivated Hindu nationalist image, it doesn’t mean he isn’t a fan of European designers. His glasses are said to be Bvlgari, and his watch is Movado, two brands at odds with his traditional Indian look but in keeping with his pro-business ideology.”
This was confirmed by his biographer Lance Price, who wrote in his book, The Modi Effect: Inside Narendra Modi’s Campaign to Transform India, “Narendra Modi had no such inhibitions. It has been widely reported that his glasses are from Bvlgari, his watch is a Movado and the pen that often pokes from his top pocket is by Mont Blanc. The shirts themselves, a short-sleeved version of the traditional round-necked kurta, have become an internationally sought-after brand. He has them hand-made, and is often seen to change them several times a day, even switching colours so they go well with the background when he speaks.
Bvlgari is an expensive Italian jewellry and luxury goods brand, while Movado is Swiss watchmaker and Mont Blanc is a German brand.
Modi’s penchant for expensive European glasses have been widely reported. In May 2015, this is what the BBC had reported, “Here is Mr Modi, Matrix style in black sunglasses, standing warrior-like behind two Terracotta Army soldiers which, according to The Times, “broke the internet faster than Kim Kardashian’s gleaming gluteus maximus”