Rahul Gandhi on Thursday disapproved of personal attacks on Opposition leaders, indicating that the Congress leadership was not happy with Mani Shankar Aiyar's recent "chaiwala" jibe at BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
"It is wrong to make personal attacks on opposition," the Congress Vice President told a meeting of party spokespersons called to elicit suggestions on how best to get the message of Congress across to people in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
He, however, did not name Aiyar. Rahul made the remark after party MP Bhalchandra Mungekar said that remarks like denigrating the "chaiwala" (tea seller) will not do the party any good.
"Do not denigrate chaiwala. Such comments are unnecessary and they may derail the debate," Mungekar, who is one of the TV panelists of the party, said. Rahul's remark is significant given the fact that BJP is exploiting Aiyar's jibe at Modi to the hilt to reach out to voters.
It has announced the launch of a campaign that will allow people to engage with Modi over a cup of tea. At the January 17 AICC meeting here, Aiyar had said that Modi could not become Prime Minister but could certainly serve tea at the meeting.
Party General Secretary Ajay Maken had disapproved of the remark soon after. Rahul said that in the face of a constant negative campaign, Congress spokespersons are doing a tremendous job. He also sought suggestions from them on the campaign theme.
The meeting saw party leaders underlining the need to effectively expose the Opposition by pointing out deficiencies in their claims backed with data. Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been made one of the senior spokespersons, underlined the need to focus on the regional media instead of the national media to reach out to people. Maken, who is in charge of the AICC Media department, detailed the steps taken to ensure an effective strategy to get the party's message across.
The controversy over Janardhan Dwivedi's remarks on reservation also figured at the meeting with one leader saying when such out of turn comments are made they are corrected and sometimes even the Congress president has to issue a statement.