A comment made by senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday, making a reference to rulers of the Mughal dynasty when asked about the election of Rahul Gandhi as party President, has stoked a controversy.
A video clip, of him responding to questions on "dynasty politics" and to the Maharashtra Congress leader Shehzad Poonawala's criticism of Rahul's election, is being widely circulated on social media.
"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," Mani told ABP News.
This viral clip doesn't include what Mani Shankar Aiyar said in the same breath: ...But we are in a Democracy. And in a Democracy it doesn't happen like this.
Unbelievable that folks at @abpnewstv don't even watch their OWN interview. pic.twitter.com/49bKPH8Pg5â€” Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) December 4, 2017
The clip has been shared by BJP supporters and even ministers such as Kiren Rijuju, accusing the Congress of treating the Gandhi family as dynasty.
Many channels have also since reported on the same.
However, since then some have pointed out that the channel had only included part of his response, and in doing so had misconstrued his comments.
After talking about the Mughal dynasty, Mani Shankar Aiyar had added another line, but this part of his response is not part of the viral clip.
"But in a democracy, elections are held. I openly invite Poonawala to file the nomination and contest," Mani added.
Watch the full clip here.
In the full context of his statement, Mani could have been trying to point out the difference between how a dynasty and a party works. Even though not many may agree with the argument that the Congress cannot be called a dynastic party.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too was quick to pounce on Aiyar's remarks. Addressing a public meeting in Dharampur constituency in Gujarat, 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 the throne of the king will automatically go the son."
"I congratulate the Congress on their 'Aurangzeb Raj.' For us, the wellbeing of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command," he added.
He also said that the Congress leaders admit that it is not a party but a kunba (family).
47-year-old Rahul Gandhi, who will be the sixth Nehru-Gandhi scion to helm the party, filed papers at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi amid cheers and celebrations by party leaders and workers. His mother and incumbent party President Sonia Gandhi signed the first nomination paper for election of her son.
Among the proposers was former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who called Rahul Gandhi the "darling" of the party. Manmohan Singh accompanied Rahul when he filed the nomination paper.
In all over 90 sets of nominations were said to have been filed supporting Gandhi before the deadline expired at 3 pm on Monday. The last date for withdrawal is December 11 when he may be declared elected since there is no contest. Scrutiny of the nomination will take place on Tuesday.
With IANS inputs