Modi alleges "secret meeting" between Aiyar and Pakistan officials
Ahead of the second phase of polling in the Gujarat elections, PM Narendra Modi has upped the ante against the Congress. Speaking at a rally in Palanpur, he said former Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had a "secret meeting" with Pakistani officials at his house right before he called Modi "neech"; he has since been suspended from the party.
Aiyar's controversial comment that triggered the controversy
During a campaign rally in Gujarat, Modi had accused former PM Jawaharlal Nehru of down-playing Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's role in nation-building; yet, he said, Congress didn't mind seeking votes in his name. Aiyar lashed out at Modi's remarks calling him a "neech aadmi" (man from a low caste) who has no "sabhyata" (civility) and plays "dirty politics." This received sharp reactions from the BJP.
'Aiyar, Manmohan Singh had secret meeting with Pakistan officials'
Modi has now claimed that right before his comments, Aiyar had a "secret meeting" at his Delhi house with "Pakistan's high commissioner, former foreign minister, India's former vice-president and former PM Manmohan Singh". Moreover, former director general of Pakistan Army, Sardar Arshad Rafiq, allegedly wanted Ahmed Patel to be made Gujarat CM, Modi said. He didn't say which media reports he was referring to.
'Aiyar wanted to had me 'removed' after I became PM'
Just two days ago, Modi had accused Aiyar of visiting Pakistan after he became the PM in 2014 and asked people there to "remove Modi from the way". "Then see what will happen to India-Pakistan peace," Aiyar reportedly said. Though Modi didn't name the "former vice president" present in the alleged meeting, BJP chief Amit Shah claimed it was Hamid Ansari.
The Aiyar controversy has refused to die down
Meanwhile, the Aiyar issue snowballed into a controversy even after the Congress suspended him. BJP leader Arun Jaitley tweeted, "Mani Shankar Aiyer's 'Neech' -attack on Prime Minister - a deliberate casteist statement, a convenient apology, a strategic suspension. People should see through this game."