Congress has suspended Mani Shankar Aiyar from the the primary membership of the party for his ‘neech’ comments made for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Aiyar has also been served a show cause notice.
The swift reaction by Congress followed Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi berating Aiyar for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘neech’ person.
Faced with widespread condemnation, Aiyar issued an apology. This was after Rahul took to Twitter to express his disapproval for Aiyar’s comments. He wrote, “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.”
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.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) December 7, 2017
He repeated the same message in Hindi tweet.
Speaking to ANI, Aiyar had said, “Ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, is mein koi sabhyata nahi hai, aur aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai?”
Aiyar later said, “‘Neech’ word can have different interpretations, my intention was never to talk of PM’s caste.I apologize if it also has a caste meaning. I am an ordinary worker of Congress,have not even been asked to campaign in Gujarat so why such a uproar over my comment?”
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Aiyar had said that a chai wallah will never India’s prime minister. Modi and his party, the BJP had used the remarks to their advantage while reminding people that he was being targetted for having a humble background.
The Congress party has had a lead over the BJP in the election campaign for the Gujarat elections up until now. Analysts believe that Aiyar’s needless comments may be counterproductive for his party’s electoral fortune in the western Indian coastal state, which goes to polls in two stages on 9 and 14 December.
BJP President Amit Shah too used the ‘neech’ jibe repeatedly while seeking votes in a rally in Gujarat. He told a rally, “Yamraj, Maut Ka Saudagar, Ravan, Gandi Nali Ka Keeda, Monkey, Rabies Victim, Virus, Bhasmasur, Gangu Teli, Goon. These are some words or phrases the Congress has used for PM Modi in the past. Not much has changed. We wish them well. We will continue to serve 125 crore Indians.”