Union Finance Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley has termed the ‘Neech’ remark made by Congress leader Manu Shankar Aiyar against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “deliberate casteist statement”, adding that his suspension from the party was “strategic”.
“Mani Shankar Aiyer’s ‘Neech’ attack on Prime Minister–a deliberate casteist statement, a convenient apology, a strategic suspension. People should see through this game,” Jaitley said in a tweet. He also said that Aiyar’s remark against the prime minister displayed a mindset that only one elite family can rule the country.
Aiyar, on Thursday, called Prime Minister Modi a “neech aadmi” who does “dirty politics” after the latter targeted the Congress saying that parties seeking votes in BR Ambedkar’s name tried to erase his contribution to nation building the party.
Responding to this, the finance minister said, “The Congress Party has challenged the weaker and backward sections of India by calling the Prime Minister as ‘Neech’. The strength of India’s Democracy will be displayed when a person of humble background politically defeats the dynasty and its representatives.”
Earlier, the suspended Congress leader claimed that it was country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru who recognised Ambedkar’s potential.
“What is the need for doing dirty politics on such an occasion?” he asked after the prime minister attacked the Congress while inaugurating the Ambedkar International Centre that was conceived 23 years ago in the national capital.
After Aiyar’s created a furore, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi told him to apologise for his ‘neech aadmi’ remark saying it was not the culture of the Congress Party. “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said,” Gandhi tweeted yesterday afternoon.
Meanwhile, PM Modi also lambasted Aiyar for using the word “neech aadmi” (vile man) for him, claiming he was targeted over his caste.
During a rally in Surat, the prime minister said Aiyar’s comments were an “insult” to Gujarat. “Shriman (Mr) Mani Shankar Aiyar today said that Modi is of ‘neech’ (lower) caste and is ‘neech’ (vile). Is this not an insult to Gujarat? This is a Mughal mentality where if such a person (who comes from a humble background) wears good clothes in a village, they have a problem,” Modi said.
With PTI inputs