PM Modi distorts Mani Shankar Aiyar’s statement, terms Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as ‘Aurangzeb Raj’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally in Dharampur, Gujarat, referred to a statement by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar wherein he claimed that Aiyar had compared the Congress party to the Mughal dynasty. Quoting him, the Prime Minister said, “…Shriman Mani Shankar Aiyar e aaje kahyu chhe, ke Jahangir ki jagah jab shahjahan aaye, kya tab election hua tha? Jab Shahjahan ki jagah par Aurangzeb aye, tab kya koi election hua tha? Yeh to pehli se hi pata tha, ki jo badshah hai uski aulad ko hi satta milegi. Iska matlab ye hua ki Congress ke varisht neta yeh khud mante hai ki Congress party, ye party nahin hai, kunba hai, aur unka kisi ka satta ka matlab pe aane ka matlab hai, ki badshah ki aulad ka bethna. Yeh Aurganzeb raj, unko mubarak.

(“Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar has said, ‘…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’. This means that eminent leaders of the Congress themselves admit that Congress party, it is not a party but a family and for them to come to power means to coronate the emperor’s heir. I congratulate Congress on Aurangzeb Raj”)

Modi was referring to a sound byte given by Aiyar to news channel ABP news on the occasion of nomination to the post of President of the Congress party. BJP social media incharge Amit Malviya tweeted this video with the text “Mani Shankar Aiyar does it again! Compares Congress rule with Mughal Raj“.

So did Mani Shankar Aiyar compare the Presidential election within the Congress party to Mughal succession? Watch the full sound byte here

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 Shehzad Poonawala to come and file an application for contesting the election)

It is clear from the video that Mani Shankar Aiyar had not drawn a parallel with the Mughals in comparing the Congress party. However, that did not prevent prominent BJP functionaries from tweeting this incomplete video.

While Aiyar is notorious for having made controversial remarks 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 party president election and dynastic rule under Mughals was mischievously clipped and given credence to by none less than the Prime Minister. Aiyar’s mention that the process for electing the party President is democratic was conveniently glossed over to suit a particular narrative.

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