Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday said he is ready to face whatever punishment the party deems fit if they suffer any damage in the Gujarat assembly polls because of his comments, reported PTI.
Aiyar, on Thursday, called Prime Minister Narendra 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.
“Mujhko lagta hai ki ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, isme koi sabhyata nahi hai. Aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai? (This shows the low-level mindset of the PM and one bereft of any manners. What is the need of doing such dirty politics on such an occasion),” the 76-year-old had said.
In response to the 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.
Speaking to reporters in the national capital, Aiyar, however, issued an apology and said, “Why was PM taking a jibe at Congress and Rahul Gandhi at the inauguration of a Centre on Baba Saheb Ambedkar? Everyday the Prime Minister is using foul language against our leaders. I am a freelance Congressi, I hold no post in the party, so I can reply to PM in his language. I meant low level when I said ‘neech’, I think in English when I speak in Hindi as Hindi is not my mother tongue. So if it has some other meaning then I apologise. I never called Modi a low born.”
Later in the evening, the Congress Party suspended Aiyar and also issued a show-cause notice to him for his remarks.
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.
Gujarat goes to polls in two phases-December 9 and 14. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.