By Aditya Aamir
The “TOP” news is Rahul Gandhi’s top-aide Divya Spandana asked the un-askable question: “Is this what happens when you’re on POT?”, referencing her tweet to Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling a rally in Karnataka that farmers are his “TOP” priority as “tomato, onion and potato” are three vegetables grown across India and found on dinner tables everywhere.
Spandana woke up to PM Modi’s “TOP” comment and tweeted that question “Is this what happens when you’re on POT?”, which has now become a top controversy, with the BJP asking Rahul Gandhi if he would now suspend Spandana as he had Mani Shankar Aiyar.
Divya Spandana, who is in charge of social media outreach of the Congress party, was last heard wondering “what all the fuss was about” because all she had done was to “invert” PM Modi’s TOP vegetable preferences to POT.
But in the process, she inadvertently inverted her own question towards her boss, Congress President Rahul Gandhi. A “very, very annoyed BJP” retaliated. “Most people of the country and our party members won’t even know what you are referring to (including PM himself) but your leader will connect with it instantly. While you have insulted people of India with your atrocious comment, your leader will be proud of you!!” BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao pointed out.
That was because in the past several politicians have cast doubts on whether Rahul Gandhi was on drugs! During the Punjab elections last year, Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal asked the question while BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramaniam Swamy has been off and on telling everybody in his hearing distance that Rahul was on drugs.
One story that got very “popular” on the Internet was that Rahul Gandhi was once arrested for cocaine possession in the United States and that then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to step in to get himl out of the “drug-induced” trouble he had landed in.
Not just the Internet, even legacy news media reported this so-called “incident”. Zee News, which is not exactly Rahul-friendly, reported in 2015: “Swami last week alleged that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was caught by Federal Bureau of Investigation for holding USD 1.60 lakh and white powder in the US in 2001.” The report said Sonia Gandhi then called then PM Vajpayee and Vajpayee called then US President George Bush and got Rahul released from the clutches of the FBI.
But The Hindu had reported in 2001 that the FBI had “detained” Rahul Gandhi “for about an hour at Boston airport” and “Congress president Sonia Gandhi reportedly spoke to Indian ambassador in the US, Mr Lalit Mansingh. Mr Gandhi was able to proceed with his onward journey”. The report did not mention “drugs”.
Then in January 2017, the Times of India reported that when drug abuse took centre-stage in the Punjab assembly elections, and Rahul Gandhi said 70% Punjabis were drug addicts, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had called the Congress vice president an “addict”.
Now, it is on to another assembly election and Divya Spandana has brought POT into the election campaign, prompting the BJP to hit back. The BJP’s own “IT maven” Amit Malviya, “wondered” whether Spandana will meet the same fate as Aiyar’s, whose use of the “neech” word during the Gujarat assembly elections targeted PM Modi.
“Will Rahul Gandhi maintain silence on Divya Spandana’s comment while he sacked Mani Shankar Aiyar just because his jibe came close to Gujarat election and Karnataka is still some months away, sacking his aide responsible for his rise as a leader takes some courage?” Malviya tweeted.
Spandana, who must have been glued to twitter, returned with a “You didn’t want to tag me cos you didn’t want people to watch the Modi video pinned on my timeline?” adding “Come on! Be a sport- And hey, POT = Potato ?? Onion Tomato ?? what were you thinking? ??.”
Maven was not amused, saying that more than 3,500 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka, the highest for any state in India, but “speaking for them is being on ‘POT’… Congress keeps it classy, again”.
So, TOP got POT involved and POT called TOP to question and set the world spinning like a TOP on POT. Politics such as this should STOP but who is listening, every politician irrespective of party appears to be on POT in the zeal to come out on TOP. (IPA Service)