Rahul Gandhi is all set to become the new Congress president paving the way for a generational shift in the leadership of the party. However, his elevation has been criticised by many within his own party with the prominent name being Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla, who has alleged that the election to the party president’s post is rigged to favour Rahul Gandhi. Poonawalla has said that the Congress had “no place for Shehzad (himself) but for shehzada (Congress vice-president Gandhi)”. He has also alleged that party spokesperson Manish Tewari had told him that the Congress was a “proprietorship” like every other political party in India. The Maharashtra leader has vowed to continue his fight against “dynasty politics.”
Adding fuel to the controversy, veteran Congress leader has invoked rulers of the Mughal dynasty to defend Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as party chief.
“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.”
Though, Aiyar later clarified:
“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.”
Aiyar’s remarks gave an opportunity for PM Modi to hit back at Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Gujarat.
The Prime Minister 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.”
“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.