National

Now, Mani Shankar Aiyar supports Jairam Ramesh’s Modi remark

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on August 25, 2019 Published on August 25, 2019

Mani Shankar Aiyar   -  THE HINDU

More support seems to be emerging around Jairam Ramesh’s call for not blindly opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One more veteran Congress leader, Mani Shankar Aiyar, has endorsed his stand that “demonising him (Modi) all the time” is not going to help the Congress and that Modi’s governance model was “not a completely negative story”.

Ramesh had cited the government’s plan to provide free cooking gas cylinders to the poor as an example of a successful programme that worked in the BJP’s favour in the recent elections.

Ramesh had made the statement at a book launch function in Delhi a few days ago. Later, Congress leaders Abishek Singhvi and Shashi Tharoor also agreed with Ramesh.

However, KS Alagiri, President of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, criticised his statement as being ‘nothing but treachery’ for ‘seeing greatness’ in Modi.

And now, Mani Shankar Aiyar told BusinessLine on Sunday that “in the context (they were made), the remark seemed appropriate”. Aiyar was present at the function where Ramesh made the now-famous statement.

Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “I have argued for six years now that Narendra Modi should be praised whenever he says or does the right things, which would add credibility to our criticisms whenever he errs.”

When Tharoor expressed such a view first, in 2014, Mani Shankar Aiyar, criticised him stridently.

Asked what he thought of Ramesh’s call to avoid a blanket criticism of Modi, Aiyar said, “In the context, the remarks (of Ramesh) seemed appropriate. Whereas Shashi (Tharoor) in 2014, was asking that we all restrain ourselves, Jairam was attempting to set out a strategy of not attacking Modi’s strengths, the better to concentrate on his (Modi’s) many Achilles’ heels.”

Aiyar has attacked Modi many times. More recently, he criticised the government over the abrogation of Article 370. Recalling that Sheikh Abdullah had once said that Kashmir was a “major factor in stabilising relations between Hindus and Muslims”, Aiyar said that the “stabilising factor is being recklessly thrown away by further alienating Kashmiris from the nation.”

Published on August 25, 2019

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