Agencies: As Congress leaders began to throng the university convention hall here to share their feedback with Rahul Gandhi on the party’s performance in Gujarat Assembly polls, the strongest words came from OBC leader Alpesh Thakor. “Mani Shankar Aiyar is a BJP agent and he was sent by them to spoil our chances,” Thakor told an English news channel.
Thakor’s views may seem like farfetched to some, but they reflect the anger among Congress leaders at ground level, not just in Gujarat but also in other states. According to sources, many leaders from Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where elections are due next year, have requested that the central leadership to ensure that Mani Shankar Aiyar and others like him don’t comment at public forums as the party’s representatives.
Veerappa Moily, a leader from Karnataka, was the first to speak out against Aiyar’s neech aadmi (vile man) remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to sources, Gujarat Congress leaders praised Rahul Gandhi’s campaign during the review meeting and blamed Aiyar’s remarks for alienating many potential voters. Thakor and many others said the party should have focused more on constituencies in and around Surat, where, despite the anger against GST, the BJP has won all the seats.
BJP had sent Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and many other ministers to speak to angry businessmen in textile and diamond sectors. Gandhi’s high decibel anti-GST campaign failed to convince the voters in urban areas.