New Delhi: Congress on Thursday suspended its senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for calling the Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Neech Aadmi’ (a vile man).
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had pulled up Aiyar during the day and asked him to apologise, a move that was seen as an attempt to cap the political fallout of the controversial remarks in the first phase of Assembly elections in Gujarat.
The BJP and PM Modi, who was campaigning in Gujarat, had invoked Aiyar’s remarks to target the Congress through the day.
“Gujarat will reply,” he said, calling the remark an example of the Congress’ “Mughal values that teach to demean castes and talk about upper and lower castes.”
However, Congress also dared BJP and Modi even after dissociating itself from Aiyar’s comment.
“This is the Congress leadership’s Gandhian philosophy and a sense of respect towards the opposition,” party spokesman Rajdeep Surjewala tweeted, questioning if PM Modi would have “courage to do something similar”.
Rahul Gandhi had earlier publicly rebuked Aiyar, saying he did not appreciate the tone and language used by Aiyar to address PM Modi. “Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
Aiyar did apologise for what he called his poor command of Hindi. “I meant low level when I said ‘neech’, I don’t think he is low born…if it has some other meaning then I apologise,” he said.
Later the suspended leader clarified and said that he was sorry if he had hurt anyone.