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Mani Shankar Aiyar Uses Mughal Example to Defend Rahul's Elevation, Plays Into PM's Hands

PM Narendra Modi compared Rahul Gandhi’s imminent elevation as Congress chief to ‘Aurangzeb Raj’.

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Updated:December 4, 2017, 11:56 PM IST
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Mani Shankar Aiyar Uses Mughal Example to Defend Rahul's Elevation, Plays Into PM's Hands
File photo of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi with senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar. (PTI)
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar landed in controversy on Monday when he invoked rulers of the Mughal dynasty to defend Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as party chief.

Rahul filed the nomination papers for party presidency on Monday and is likely to be elected unopposed, invoking “dynasty” jibes form the BJP. The 47-year-old Gandhi scion will succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has held the post for 19 years in a row now. Monday was the last date for filing nominations.

Hitting back at BJP leaders, Aiyar said: “When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any election happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go to the heir."

"But in a democracy elections are held. I openly invite Poonawalla to file the nomination and contest," Aiyar said, referring to the rebellion by Maharashtra Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla.

Aiyar later sought to clarify, saying the comparisons should not be made. “Don't compare both. During Mughal rule it was understood that after Jehangir, Shahjahan will be the leader but here anyone is free to contest against Rahul Gandhi. It's a totally democratic process.”

The damage, however, was done, with PM Modi using Aiyar’s remarks to attack Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Gujarat.

Addressing a public meeting in Dharampur constituency, Modi said: "Mani Shankar Aiyar, who never shies away from showing loyalty to one family, proudly said — When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any elections happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go the son," Modi said.

"I congratulate the Congress on their 'Aurangzeb Raj’. For us, the well-being of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command," he said.
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