When Rajiv Gandhi publicly insulted former Andhra CM

NEW DELHI: While campaigning for BJP candidate Smriti Irani in Amethi on Monday, party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi criticised former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi for being arrogant, reminding the public as to how he publicly humiliated former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Tantuguri Anjaiah 32 years ago.
 
Modi's criticism of the former prime minister drew sharp response from Congress. Priyanka Gandhi, campaigning in Gandhi bastion for brother, Rahul, singled out Modi's reference to her father, Rajiv.
 
She said Modi's remarks were 'insulting' towards her martyred father on the soil of Amethi. She also called upon the people of Amethi to reply to Modi's comments 'from each of the polling booths'.
 
"People of Amethi will never forgive them for this act. Workers in Amethi will reply to their low-level politics," she said.

But the question to be asked is did Modi's comments warrant such an extreme reaction from the Congress? Also, did Modi actually 'insult' Rajiv Gandhi?
 
Modi was actually just relating a true incident. It is well documented that Anjaiah was actually shouted at in 1982 by Rajiv at Hyderabad's Begumpet airport.
 
Rajiv, who at the time was Congress general secretary, had arrived on a private visit to the state. On seeing a large crowd at the airport, he wondered why there was a gathering of party workers at the airport.
 
The Andhra chief minister didn't understand the reasons for Rajiv's annoyance and did nothing to clear the crowd. This earned him Rajiv's ire who publicly called him a 'buffoon'.
 
If the public humiliation was not enough, Anjaiah was later sacked from the party by Indira Gandhi, which proved to be the last straw for Anjaiah, who was unhappy with the way central government was controlling state administration indirectly.
 
The treatment meted out to the Andhra CM proved costly to Congress as later in 1983, the Telugu Desam Party, led by Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao or NTR won the assembly elections with a thumping majority.
 
The insult to Anjaiah was cleverly used as an "atmagauravam" (self-respect) plank by NTR to woo voters in Andhra. (With inputs from agencies)