The BJP has hit back Congress leader Shashi Tharoor who during the relaunch of one of his books on Tuesday at Delhi’s Nehru Memorial Museum & Library said that the reason a 'Chaiwala' can reach the heights of holding the post of a Prime Minister is because India's first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, created the institutional structures that enable any Indian to aspire to do so.
Taking to Twitter, the BJP has taken a sarcastic line, writing, "Minor correction Dr. Tharoor, Nehru is the sole reason why humanity exists. Don’t trivialise his role to mundane matters like making Prime Ministers and all that ;)"
On Wednesday, keeping up his recent trend of making controversial statements, this time at the relaunch of his book 'Nehru: The Invention of India', Shashi Tharoor said:
"If today, we have chaiwala as prime minister, it is because Nehru ji made it possible to create the institutional structures through which any Indian can aspire to and rise to the highest office in the land."
Adding that Nehru had great respect for institutions and the vision to lay the foundations for the future of the country, Tharoor continued, "Nehru ji respected institutions. Nehru ji attended all session and every day of Parliament contrary to the what the current Prime Minister practices. If today, the government can boast about Mangalyaan, ask who created ISRO. Who decided that even a poor Indian can dare to aim for the skies. Who created the IITs who send so many bright young men to the Silicon Valley. All of this in the poor country was optional. You had to have the vision to say we need to do all these things. We need to lay the foundations to build India of the future."
He put forth that Nehru never turned from a popular democratic leader to an autocrat:
"A number of post-colonial heroes in other ex-colonies had gone the opposite way. They started off as democratically popular heroes and headed in an authoritarian direction...Nehru ji never fell into that trap."
A day before Jawaharlal Nehru's birth anniversary, Tharoor also alleged, "A concerted campaign of vilification, calumny and an astonishing amount of lies is being spread on the internet against Nehru."
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also backed Shashi Tharoor up, adding, "We all know, as Shashi Tharoor has said, that his precious legacy is being undermined daily by those who rule us today. They express disdain and contempt for Nehru for building the India that they are bent on changing for the worst."