Vice President clarifies that he isn’t commenting against a specific party or individual but the Congress is expectedly unhappy
In a not-so-veiled dig at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for claiming during his recent interaction with students at University of California, Berkeley that “most of India” runs through dynasts, India’s vice president Venkaiah Naidu has said that “dynasty is nasty but tasty to some”.
The comments by Naidu have predictably rankled the Congress party which has said that as India’s vice president, the former BJP leader isn’t expected to make political statements and that if he continues to do so then the principal Opposition party will be forced to respond without considering protocol.
Addressing an event organised on Friday evening to launch a book written by former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, Naidu had said: “There is discussion about dynasty. Dynasty and democracy cannot go together. Very simple… it weakens our system… I used to say it earlier, but now I hesitate to say it because I am out of politics. Dynasty in democracy is nasty but it is tasty to some people”.
The comments by the ‘apolitical’ Indian vice president were seen as a direct rebuttal to equally controversial remarks by the Congress vice president.
Earlier this week during an interaction with the students at UC, Berkeley, Rahul had been asked about being a “dynast” and the role of dynasty in Indian politics. He had responded to the question saying: “Most of the country runs like this (through dynasts). Akhilesh Yadav is a dynast. Stalin is a dynast. Dhumal’s son is a dynast. Even Abhishek Bachchan is a dynast. Also Mr. Ambani. That’s how India runs. So don’t just go after me,” while conceding that dynasty was a “problem” in India.
Though Naidu qualified his “dynasty is nasty but tasty to some” comments by immediately claiming that “I am not keeping in mind any particular party — this party or that party — as someone said everybody is trying to follow each other”, his remarks were in line with the massive criticism unleashed by a posse of BJP Union ministers and spokespersons against the Congress vice president in the aftermath of his Berkeley address.
While Union information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani had hit out at Rahul calling him a “failed dynast”, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had slammed the Congress vice president for allegedly maligning India’s image on foreign soil.
But while the likes of Irani and Patra are still active players in the political arena, Naidu holds a constitutional post that is supposed to be apolitical – something he underlined when he said that he was now “out of politics”.
However, this isn’t the first instance of Naidu making somewhat political comments that are in line with the BJP’s official statements on controversial issues. Earlier, when he had won the vice presidential polls but hadn’t officially taken the oath of office, Naidu had hit out at his predecessor Hamid Ansari. Ansari’s comments about Muslims in India “living under a feeling of unease and insecurity” had been slammed by the BJP and Naidu had jumped into the row by asserting that “some people are saying minorities are insecure. It is a political propaganda.”
Soon after Naidu’s dig at Rahul, the Congress sought to remind him that he now holds a constitutional office and shouldn’t be making political attacks against individuals. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam tweeted: