A tea seller is not fit to be India’s Prime Minister.
That was the rather stupid remark recently made by one major political party leader to another. Not surprisingly, Indians on social media did not take well to the ‘disgusting,’ ‘hypocritical’ and ‘classist’ remark (Twitter reactions below).
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has used his humble upbringing to galvanize votes in his political campaign but according to Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal, a tea-seller cannot have a national perspective.
Watch the video above. Here is a translation of Agarwals condescending attack.
"Narendra Modi wants to become a PM. Someone rising from a tea shop can never have a national perspective. Like, if you make a 'sipahi' (constable) as 'kaptan' (Superintendent of Police) he can never have SP's approach but will have that of a constable," Mr Agarwal said in comments that could stoke a controversy.
Agarwal is not alone in being amongst those Indian officials who are coming under fire for insensitive remarks.
As far as Agarwal’s jab at his opponent goes, it looks like business as usual in a political campaign before elections time accept that the remark is actually bad for business.
A ‘chai wala’ is more representative of India than an elitist politician who comes from a higher pedigree. And a comment like that can take you into deep waters with India’s largest constituency – the poor.
After all, Mahatma Gandhi united India against the British on the ticket of modesty – not his prestigious background as a London-educated lawyer.
Watch the video above.
Agarwal has since issued an apology to the ‘poor’ but not to the BJP candidate who he took a dig at.
"My statement was misconstrued by the media. I apologize if my statement hurt the sentiments of the poor but I will not apologize to Narendra Modi.”
Samajwadi and BJP (also known as India’s National Party) are two of India’s leading political parties. Ironically, the former is based on socialist ideology.
Here are some of the Twitter reactions from Indians.
Unnecessary comments by Naresh Agarwal over his 'madari, tea-seller' remarks on Modi proves that Agarwal is the topmost idiot in India.— Sankar Dutta (@sndt1950) November 14, 2013
Disgustingly classist remark ("Tea seller as PM) from the Samajwadi Party on Modi. This isnt a critique, its elitism of the worst kind— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 14, 2013
And ironically the man who says a tea seller cannot be PM is from Samajwadi party - a party that supposedly believes in socialism— The Bad Doctor (@doctoratlarge) November 14, 2013
"Tea seller as PM from the Samajwadi Party on Modi" remark is a feather in Modi's cap that made him equivalent to Abraham Lincoln.— Sudhees Sukumaran (@SudheesSukumar) November 14, 2013