Gujarat election 2017: It seems that Rahul Gandhi & Co. has planned to use PM Narendra Modi’s tea selling past and various tales chronicled around it as an effective tool to conquer upcoming assembly elections in state. After apologising for mocking Modi in a distasteful meme, the Congress is now reaching out to Gujarat tea sellers and taking their views on implementation of Goods and Services Tax. The Congress IT Cell has directed their volunteers to go out and speak to the tea vendors of state. These volunteers are reportedly recording videos of the tea sellers who are critical of GST and demonetisation. These videos are likely to feature on Facebook and Twitter or may well circulate through other mediums. Days ago, a tweet by official account of Indian Youth Congress’ online magazine ‘Yuva Desh’ had brought back the memories of the party’s ‘Chaiwala’ taunt against PM Narendra Modi in 2014. A controversy had erupted after Yuva Desh posted a meme showing PM Modi, US President Donald Trump and UK PM Theresa May having a conversation. While Modi is shown saying, “You have seen what kind of ‘me me’ opposition makes on me”, Trump says “It’s not pronounced ‘me me’ but ‘meem’ and May is shown telling Modi ‘Tu Chai Bech’ (You sell tea.)
Taking note of the tweet, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that tweet portrays Congress’ mindset towards India’s poor. “This blatantly classist and anti-poor Tweet by the Youth Congress shows their mindset towards India’s poor. Does Crown Prince @OfficeOfRG support this?,” Rupani said. As the controversy snowballed, Yuva Desh deleted the meme and apologised for the tweet as well.
Youth Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja took to Twitter and clarified that the twitter handle is run by the volunteers themselves and not by the members of Youth Congress. Raja further said that despite the differences, the Congress party respects the Prime Minister and all political opponents. “Although the handle @Yuvadesh is being run by youth volunteers and not by @iyc ,we do not approve of such humour and apologise.
Despite political differences with the BJP & having suffered everyday abuse from their leaders, we respect the Prime Minister & all political opponents,” Raja wrote on Twitter.
A similar controversy took place place in 2014 General Elections when some Congress leaders, including former Union Minister Manishankar Aiyar, had mocked Modi’s “chaiwala” past.