NEW DELHI, Nov 17 - Former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today stoked a fresh controversy by reportedly saying, during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between the two nations have to resume.
The Congress leader�s comments evoked sharp response from BJP and RJD, with the saffron outfit saying Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the country know their stand on the issue.
The Congress, however, said BJP�s charges were �absolute nonsense� and that Aiyar communicated to the party that he had not said any such thing.
When the anchor of Duniya TV asked what is to be done to end the stalemate in the relations between the two nations, Aiyar responded, �The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years. They (panelists) are all optimist and that we can move forward when Modi sahab is there, but I don�t think so.�
He further said, �Bring us (the Congress) back to power and remove them. There is no other way (to better the relations). We will remove them, but till then you (Pakistan) have to wait.�
When asked for his reaction to the issue, Congress leader Tom Vaddakan said, �This is absolute nonsense. I have a letter with me written by Aiyer in which he categorically denies saying anything like that. So there is no question of distancing from it.�
The BJP termed it as �extremely serious, worrisome and completely incorrect.�
Attacking Aiyar for the statement, RJD�s Manoj Jha said even somebody with �minimum sanity� will condemn this statement. �Even a kindergarten student will not issue such a statement,� he said. � PTI