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Posted at: Dec 7, 2017, 4:17 PM; last updated: Dec 7, 2017, 10:05 PM (IST)

Congress suspends Mani Shankar Aiyar for 'neech aadmi' remark on Modi

Congress suspends Mani Shankar Aiyar for 'neech aadmi' remark on Modi
Mani Shankar Aiyar. File photo
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7

The Congress on Thursday suspended its senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar from the primary membership of the party and issued him a show-cause notice, after he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “neech aadmi” (vile man).

The disciplinary action against the Gandhi family loyalist came barely two days before the first phase of Assembly poll in Gujarat.

Congress communications in charge Randeep Surjewala said the action showed the party’s “Gandhian leadership” and respect for the political rival. He asked whether Prime Minister Modi would dare to act similarly.

“The Congress party has served a show-cause notice to Mani Shankar Aiyar and suspended him from the primary membership of the party,” Surjewala said.

Aiyar today set off a political firestorm when he called Modi a “neech kism ka aadmi” (a vile man), a remark the latter claimed was a casteist slur against him.

Reacting to the PM’s speech at a function to inaugurate the BR Ambedkar International Centre here, Aiyar said if anyone had contributed to taking Ambedkar’s dream forward, it was Jawaharlal Nehru.

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Lambasting the PM, Aiyar told ANI, “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? (This man has a low level, and is not civilised. What was the need to indulge in dirty politics at this time?)”

Read: Narendra Modi inaugurates BR Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi

Responding to Aiyar’s remark, Modi told an election rally in Surat: "They can call me 'neech jaati'.  Yes, I am from the poor section of society and will spend every moment of my life to work for the poor, Dalits, tribals and backward classes. That is my culture. They can keep their language, we will do our work."

Targeting Aiyar, Modi said he came from a good family, has a number of university degrees, was a diplomat for a number of years and remained a minister in the Manmohan Singh government, but was resorting to such insults. "This is an insult to Gujarat. Not just to Gujarat but to the entire nation." "You are the people who discriminated on the basis of caste. Not we. They feel troubled. You call us 'gandi naali ka keeda'. You call us low caste people but we won't lose our culture." He said Aiyar was speaking out of the "Mughlai mindset" that "sees everyone as 'neech'".

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too disapproved of Aiyar's remark and said both he and the party expected the senior leader to apologise.

Expressing his thoughts on Twitter, Gandhi said that it is not the Congress party's culture to use such language against political opponents.

"BJP and Prime Minister 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 Prime Minister. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said," Gandhi tweeted.

Later, Aiyar apologised for using the word "neech" (low) for Modi but maintained that he had not referred to him as "low-born".

"I never meant low-born. There is a difference in English language between words 'low' and 'low-born'. But in Hindi if low means low-born, then I tender apology," he told reporters after his remark triggered a political storm.

Asked about Rahul Gandhi's tweet that he did not appreciate Aiyar's words to address the Prime Minister, Aiyar said he could talk about it only after meeting Gandhi. With agencies

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