Mani Shankar Aiyar’s reported comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a Pakistani TV channel has caused a huge political controversy with the opposition parties sharpening their knifes against the Congress leader.
While taking part in a debate on Dunya TV, Aiyar said that talks between India and Pakistan could move forward only if Modi was removed from his post.
“First, it is required to remove Modi, otherwise talks will not move forward. We’ll have to wait for four years. These people are very optimistic about Modi, they think that talks will move forward with Modi’s presence. But I don’t think so,” Aiyar said.
On his remarks about prime minister, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said: “Perhaps Mani Shankar Aiyar forgot that Modi ji was elected by the people. It is a reprehensible comment and we condemn it.”
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said: “Some people are behaving and conducting themselves as propagandists for ISIS (Islamic State) and Taliban. We need to watch out for fringe elements in India.”
Citing example of Samajwadi Party, which quickly distanced itself from its leader Azam Khan’s controversial comments on the Paris attack, Lekhi asked why the Congress failed to condemn Aiyar’s remarks?
“At a time when the entire world stood up to condemn the Paris attack, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid were speaking ill of our prime minister on foreign land. When Azam Khan remarked on Paris attacks, the SP was sensible to criticise what he said. But the Congress has not condemned him yet,” Lekhi said.
Khurshid, a former external affairs minister, praised Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently and criticized Prime Minister Modi during his invitation lecture at the Jinnah Institute in Islamabad last week.
“Modi is not used to talking to people who disagree with him,” Khurshid had said.
Speaking about Sharif attending Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in India, Khurshid said, “If you look back at the first face-to-face between our PMs, your PM took a brave, farsighted decision. If there has been a leader of democratic Pakistan who wanted peace with India, it is (Sharif, who) was the first non-military (Pakistani) leader to try for peace.”
Congress party leaders have rallied behind their leader arguing that there was nothing objectionable.
Congress’ spokesperson Ragini Nayak told Times Now news channel, ” All Mani Shankar Aiyar said was that talks will not move forward under Modi. What’s wrong in that? Did he talk about ISI or make any anti-national statements. Why was media silent when our prime minister (Modi) was expressing his shame for corruption in India during a foreign visit. Was that not tantamount to insulting India on on a foreign soil?”