Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday apologised to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “neech” remark after party vice president Rahul Gandhi rebuked him for using foul language.
Earlier in the day, Aiyar was asked to comment on PM Modi appropriating Babasaheb Ambedkar into his election campaign in Gujarat.
Referring to PM Modi, Aiyar had said, "This person is a 'neech aadmi'. He is not civilised and in a situation like this, there is no need to practise such dirty politics."
Aiyar’s remark sparked a massive controversy with both BJP and PM Modi slamming the leader and Congress for using "insulting" language.
Modi said the language, Congress leaders are speaking is not acceptable in a democracy and people will answer them with their votes.
“One Congress leader, who has studied in best institutions, served as a diplomat, was a Minister in Cabinet, he said Modi is ‘Neech.’ This is insulting. This is nothing but a Mughalai Mindset,” PM Modi said while addressing a rally in Surat.
“Let them keep calling me ‘Neech’ we will not respond. We do not have this mindset and want to congratulate them for theirs. If anything- we will answer them for their mindset with our votes on 9th and 14th,” he said.
Reacting to Aiyar’s remark, Rahul Gandhi rebuked the senior Congress leader reminding him of the party’s culture and heritage.
Rahul Gandhi said, "despite the fact that BJP and PM routinly use filthy language to attack Congress, I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the Prime Minister as it was against the culture and heritage of Congress party."
“Both Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said,” Rahul said.
Soon after Rahul Gandhi’s instructions, Mani Shankar Aiyar came out with an explanation and said by “neech,” he meant “low level”.
“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 apologize,” Aiyer said.
BJP also responded strongly and criticised Aiyar for his “neech” comment saying the party is proud of PM Modi and Aiyar’s mindset is a ‘darbaari’ one.
“Mani Shankar Aiyar has called our PM ‘neech’ but we are proud of our Prime Minister, he has answered (Mani Shankar Aiyar) very politely & sensibly. Aiyar’s mindset is a ‘darbaari’ one,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while addressing a press conference.