Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today kicked up a row with comments on succession under the Mughals while talking about the imminent elevation of Rahul Gandhi, a remark Prime Minister Narendra Modi lapped up to attack the party over dynastic politics, likening it to "Aurangzeb raaj".
Responding to Shehzad Poonawala's "dynastic politics" remark on the organisational poll which, he claimed, was "rigged", Aiyar said today the Congress leader from Maharashtra was free to contest against Gandhi, while there was no election during the Mughal rule when sons succeeded the emperors.
"When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir, was there an election? When Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan, was there an election? No. It was known to everyone earlier that the throne of the emperor will automatically go to the king's heir. If they fight amongst themselves, it is a different matter.
"But the times have changed. In a democracy, elections are held and anyone can contest. Now any Congressman can file the nominations. We have seen Jitendra Prasada stood against Sonia ji and contested. Even today anyone who wants to contest is welcome to do so. This is a general election as in a democracy," Aiyar told reporters when asked about Poonawala's remarks.
Aiyar said Rahul Gandhi was being elevated as everyone liked him.
Latching on to his remarks, likened the imminent elevation of Rahul Gandhi to dynastic succession of Mughal rulers.
"Mani Shanker Aiyar, who was a minister in the Congress government said 'did elections happen during Mughal rule? After Jahangir, Shahjahan came, was any election held? After Shahjahan it was understood that Aurangzeb would be the leader'.
"Does the Congress accept that it is a one family party? We don't want this Aurangzebi Raaj (Aurangzeb's rule)....For us, country comes first, 125 crore people of this country are our high-command," Modi told an election rally in Dharmapur in Gujarat.
Aiyar later said he was, in fact, contrasting the dynastic succession with elections today.
"I was contrasting dynastic succession under the Mughals where only sons could succeed. With the election process at 24, Akbar Road, any Congressman or woman was entitled to stand against Rahul Gandhi," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)