Gandhinagar: While Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said Bharatiya Janata Party's PM candidate Narendra Modi is only capable of becoming a tea stall vendor, the BJP has decided to cash in on the comment and launch a poll campaign through tea stalls across the country.
According to reports, on Feb 1, Modi will interact live with people at 1,000 tea shops across 300 parliamentary constituencies using internet and DTH technology.
He will also address five to eight 'nukkad' (street corner) meetings called 'Chai Pe Charcha with NaMo'.
Aiyar's comment has triggered sharp attack from the BJP and even from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
"This remark shows the feudal mindset of the Congress. We are a democratic party. Even a tea vendor can become PM and a farmer can become the BJP's president," BJP President Rajnath Singh said on Saturday while addressing the party's national executive in New Delhi.
"But in Congress, only a particular family has the right to become the PM or that family decides who will become PM," he said.
Aiyar on Friday itself had clarified his remark and said he was misquoted by the media.
"It is Modi who keeps bringing to the fore his background of being a tea stall owner while making a pitch to the people of India for the elections. Therefore, I just said that Modi will never be the Prime Minister of India, but if he wants, we can set up a tea stall for him here," Aiyar told CNN-IBN.
Earlier, addressing the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting here, Aiyar said: "Narendra Modi can never be the Prime Minister of India. However, if he wants, we can set up a tea stall for him here."
Reacting to his statement, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, "Modi has a lot of negatives but his humble origins are a positive some of us can't claim. We aren't helping our campaign by mocking him."
Earlier in November last year, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Naresh Agarwal attacked Modi and said a "tea stall vendor" cannot become the prime minister of the country.
"One who used to sell tea cannot have a national perspective. Modi wants to become the PM of the country but a tea vendor's point of view can never be that of a national stature," Agarwal said while addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Hardoi district.
"Like if you make a 'sipahi' (constable) as 'kaptan' (Superintendent of Police) then he can never change his perception. His perception will remain like a constable," he said.
The Gujarat Chief Minister has often referred to his humble background while addressing rallies in the country.
"I have sold tea at the railway station and in running trains," Modi had said in a rally earlier.