The comment made by Agrawal is against the spirit of democracy where every person is allowed to contest elections and rise to any level. Just because a person sells tea doesn’t mean that he cannot lead the country.
How low can leaders go in order to win brownie points over each other, probably will never be estimated. The ongoing assembly elections have already sent many of them into nervous breakdown, some of them simply have a history of foot-in-mouth disease.
Known for making snide remarks against his political rivals, Samajwadi party general secretary Naresh Agarwal charged a below the belt attack on Bhartiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
In party’s rally in Hardoi, Agarwal said, “A tea vendor’s point of view can never be that of a national stature. Narendra Modi says he used to sell tea, now he says he wants to be the prime minister”.
It should be noted that last month only he had targeted Modi for touching the issues of national importance as if he was going to contest for chief ministership and not prime ministership.
“There is a saying in my village that if you ask a widow’s blessing, she will ask you to become like her. The BJP too is asking everyone to become like them. Mod’s thoughts are limited as he is a CM of small state,’ he had said.
The statement, however, started a big controversy because of his use of derogatory term for village widow rather than his remarks on Modi.
Agarwal needs to be reminded here that the same tea vendor he has been targeting, the same chief minister of ‘small’ Gujara, is a very able leader. His administrative capabilities are held in high esteem by the people of the country.
When he says that Modi is not contesting election of a village head or legislator and that he should speak out his stand on international issues and terrorism, he should also understand that the people of “Chaina and Pakistan” are not going to vote in the general elections. Modi’s views on the national issues will only earn him votes and he has been doing that. His stand on terrorism is well known and his recent Patna rally saw the hand of terror working against him.
As the BJP also said in its counter attack, the comment made by Agrawal is against the spirit of democracy where every person is allowed to contest elections and rise to any level. Just because a person sells tea doesn’t mean that he cannot lead the country. The history is replete with examples where people from very humble backgrounds have risen dramatically and have lead their countries quite well.
It should also be noted that Agarwal has had a history of making controversial remarks. In August, the Rajya Sabha MP had sparked a controversy over the brutal Mumbai gang-rape, saying that women needed to pay attention to their clothes to avoid being raped. Agarwal had also said that women should not be too influenced by television.
CPM polit bureau leader Brinda Karat had hit out at Agarwal, saying, “It’s a national shame that we have a man like this in Parliament. Instead of demanding punishment, he is justifying the crime at a time when sexual assault on women is rising and conviction rate of rapists is low.”
Before this, in early August, Agarwal had made an insinuation on senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar during a debate in the House of Elders which the chairman expunged immediately. Aiyar had to be held by other members when he ran towards Agarwal, saying, “How dare you call me that!”
It can only be said that a tea seller may achieve the gravity and acumen of the best politician, but Mr Agarwal it seems lacks the humility of one.