In a controversial statement, suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday said that he never thought that a chief minister who had compared Muslims with 'puppies' would be the prime minister of India one day.
Aiyar, speaking at the inauguration of ‘Enough With intolerance National Campaign’ event at India International Centre, said when Prime Minister Narenrda Modi was asked if the loss of Muslim lives in the 2002 Gujarat riots upset him, Modi replied “Even if a puppy comes under a car, I will feel the pain.”
The suspended Congress leader alleged that PM Modi never visited any Muslim refugee camp for 24 days in 2002 after the Gujarat riots.
“Before 2014, I would have never thought, that a Chief Minister thinks of Muslims as puppy. The individual, who was when asked about whether you have any regrets that so many Muslims lost their lives in 2002, had said that even if a puppy comes under a car, I will feel the pain. I have thought over this statement. He never visited any Muslim refugee camp for 24 days (after Gujarat riots) and reached Shah Alam mosque in Ahmadabad only when (then) Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee came, as it was the necessity of the protocol. I had never thought that any such individual can become Prime Minister,” ANI quoted Aiyar as saying.
Aiyar went on to mention former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s contribution in promoting secularism.
“Our first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru taught us the real definition of nationalism. I learned from him that majority communalism is worst than minority communalism. He taught us that we can either be secular or cannot remain one single country,” Aiyar added.
Aiyar, who had served as Union cabinet minister under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the first tenure of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2004, was suspended from the primary membership of the Congress party in December 2017 after his ‘neech’ remark for Prime Minister Modi courted a major controversy.
(With inputs from agencies)