'Chai wala' row: Rahul says tea vendors have to be respected

Amid a row over 'chai wala' barb by a Congress leader against Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi today appeared to be on damage control exercise as he said people from all professions, including tea vendors, should be respected except those who make fool of others.

"People are involved in various professions. Some make tea, others drive taxi, some are engaged in farming. We have to respect all of them," the Congress Vice President said while addressing a rally here.

"We have to respect the tea vendor, the labourer and the farmer. But those who make 'ullu' (fool) of others, should not be respected," he added.

The comment appeared to be a damage control exercise after the row triggered by the 'chai wala' barb by his party colleague Mani Shankar Aiyar against Modi.

Aiyar, while attending the AICC session here last month, had said that Modi will never become the Prime Minister "but if he wants to distribute tea here (at AICC venue), we will find a place for him."

Aiyar's jibe at Modi had come as the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate has been highlighting his background of a tea vendor in his election campaign.

BJP, while terming it as an "insult" to tea vendors, has since been trying to cash on it and has decided to launch a 'chai pe charcha' (discussion over tea) in this regard.

Gandhi's comment also assumes significance as it comes two days after he told Congress spokespersons to desist from making personal attacks on any political leader.

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