Modi responds to Tharoor’s ‘Chaiwala’ remark: If Nehru created democratic system, let non-Gandhi become Congress president for 5 years

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New Delhi | November 16, 2018 2:42 PM

PM Modi challenged that the Congress to allow a good leader outside the Gandhi family to become the Congress president for five years.

Addressing an election rally in Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur, Modi said that Congress has been having sleepless nights since he became the PM. (File photo: PTI/Reuters)

In a direct attack on Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Chaiwala’ remark two days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the Congress party has been unable to digest that a ‘Chaiwala’ has risen to become the PM of the country. Addressing an election rally in Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur, Modi said that Congress has been having sleepless nights since he became the PM.

Responding specifically to Tharoor’s remark that a tea-seller could become the Prime Minister of India because of the institutions and the democratic system that Jawaharlal Nehru had set up, Modi challenged that the Congress to allow a good leader outside the Gandhi family to become the Congress president for five years.

“These people still have not come to terms that I am the PM, it has been nearly four and a half years. They are still crying, how can a ‘Chaiwala’ become PM?. Now they say a ‘Chaiwala’ became PM because of one great person,” PM said.

Recently, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had said that former PM Jawaharlal Nehru created institutional structures which enabled any Indian to aspire for higher positions in the country. In an apparent reference to PM Modi, Tharoor had said that if today a Chaiwala (tea-seller) is the PM, it is because of Nehru who created the democracy for anyone to aspire to reach the top posts in the country.

Lashing out at the main opponent for the 2019 polls, Modi said, “I want to challenge them, let some good leader of Congress outside of the family become the party president for 5 years, then I will say that Nehru ji really created a truly democratic system there.

However, Tharoor later clarified that he did not target PM Modi and his comments were for the contribution of Nehru for the democratic institutions. He further said that he admires the fact that PM Modi has reached from the modest background to the highest office on the land. He said that it was the creation of institutions more important than individuals is what made it possible for any individual to aspire to rise to the highest office.

It is not the first instance when PM Modi has been attacked with the jibe, weeks ahead of Gujarat assembly polls in the state, a tweet by Official Handle Of Indian Youth Congress’s online magazine had brought back the memories of the party’s ‘Chaiwala’ taunt against PM Narendra Modi in 2014.

The use of ‘Chaiwala’ jibe against PM Modi has brought back the memories of 2014 General Elections when Congress leaders, including former Union Minister Manishankar Aiyar, had mocked the then BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi as a ‘Chaiwala’ who would return to selling tea after losing in the polls then. However, the Congress’ jibe proves costly for the party as Modi built a campaign around the insult and the BJP organised thousands of ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ events across the country to mobilise votes.

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