Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday waded into the massive controversy triggered by personal attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, describing a distasteful remark about the prime minister’s father by a Congress leader as a “self-goal”.
“The Congress considers only a great surname as a political brand,” he said in a blog that underlined that the ruling BJP would continue to badger the Congress for controversial remarks made by its middle-rung leadership.
In his speeches in recent days, PM Modi has already sought to send a message that the personal attacks were not made by individual leaders but at the behest of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
In a blog, Jaitley – who is campaigning in Rajasthan that votes on December 7 – referred to Congress leader Vilasrao Muttemwar’s comment in an election speech at a public meeting in Rajasthan a few days ago. In this, the former union minister was heard asserting that while the world knows who Rahul Gandhi’s parents were, no one knew who Modi’s father was.
Jaitley said the argument given by the Congress leader was that “if you represent the legacy of a well-known family, it is a political point in your favour”.
Extending this argument, the finance minister said: “Millions of talented political workers who come from modest family backgrounds would fail by the Congress test of leadership.”
To back up his point, the union minister said he posed three simple questions to his acquaintances and did not get a definite answer to any. The questions were: “What is the name of Gandhiji’s father; What is the name of Sardar Patel’s father; What is the name of Sardar Patel’s wife?
“None of my well informed friends had a definitive answer. This is the tragedy of Congress politics and its impact on the nation.”
“The real strength of Indian democracy,” he said, “would be when the charismas of some families is completely shattered and parties, through a democratic process, throw up leaders of merit and competence… India of 2019 is different from India of 1971.”
Jaitley’s detailed blog attacking the Congress for its dynastic politics wasn’t a one-off.
Around the same time that Jaitley put out his blog, BJP president Amit Shah, addressing an election meeting in south Rajasthan’s Sirohi on Tuesday, also repeatedly stressed how the Congress had been heaping insults on PM Modi, a tea seller who had risen to the PM’s post, and asking them to vote against the Congress to punish them.