Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar attracted the ire of BJP on Wednesday as the latter accused him of visiting Lahore just before joining the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act - a claim that Aiyar later confirmed. In the video available on YouTube, he reportedly painted an adverse picture of India and claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was facing an ideological rebellion across India. However, this is not the first time that he has been accused of making statements conducive to the interests of Pakistan.
In response to a question from a Pakistani anchor about ending the stalemate between India and Pakistan, Aiyar stated that PM Modi had to be 'removed'. He contended that relations could be improved only if Congress returned to power. This was interpreted by many as seeking help from Pakistan to meddle in Indian politics.
Aiyar said, “The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years. They (panelists) are all optimist and that we can move forward when Modi sahab is there, but I don’t think so. Bring us (the Congress) back to power and remove them. There is no other way (to better the relations). We will remove them, but till then you (Pakistan) have to wait.”
Few months after Aiyar levelled the classist and casteist ‘Neech Aadmi’ insult at the PM, BJP leader Ajay Agrawal hinted at a Pakistani connection. He alleged that the Pakistan High Commissioner had visited Aiyar’s residence a day before he abused PM Modi. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi pulled him up for the comment, which was made during the 2017 Gujarat Assembly election campaign.
Making a speech in Lahore, the senior Congress leader launched a vociferous defence of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Instead, he blamed freedom fighter Veer Savarkar for proposing the two-nation theory. Thereafter, he claimed that there was nothing wrong in referring to Jinnah as ‘Quaid-e-Azam'.
Aiyar stated, “In 1923, a man called VD Savarkar invented a word which doesn't exist in any religious text, Hindutva. So, the first proponent of the Two-Nation Theory was the ideological guru of those who are currently in power in India.” He added, "I referred to Jinnah as the Quaid-e-Azam (Father of the Nation) & the hysterical Indian TV anchors are demanding to know how an Indian can go to Pakistan and say this. I know many Pakistanis who called MK Gandhi as Mahatma Gandhi, does that make them unpatriotic Pakistanis?"
At the peak of the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, Aiyar made disparaging remarks about the Centre talking to a Pakistani channel. He accused the BJP of cheating the youths and the farmers of the country. Moreover, he contended that BJP had attempted to wage a divide between Hindus and Muslims since coming to power in May 2014 - a line of political attack that appears to have caught Pakistan PM Imran Khan's fancy.
The senior Congress leader mentioned, “These people made huge promises but delivered nothing. And people were upset after seeing this. Empty jumlas were organised for the elections. And the promises they made, they were about to investigate that and the result was that our farmers have never been in such derogatory condition like they have been in these past two-four years. These youths are unemployed along with that they are trying to divide our society between Hindus and Muslims. They should know about it, for our country to live. They (BJP) have really destroyed it in these four years.”