In a major political development, Congress, the main opposition party suspended its senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar from the primary membership of the party. The prime minister who was campaigning in Surat today, quickly latched onto this and said that the comments reflected the "Mughal" mindset of the congress party.
While calling for dialogue with the neighbouring country, Aiyar said, "We need to work out ways of consolidating our own nationhood and one very important aspect of that is somehow creating a relationship with Islamabad which will enable Muslims living in our country not to be held responsible for what Hafiz Saeed does or did or will do".
Although Aiyar clarified that he never meant "low born" when he said "Neech Aadmi" and that he was not aware about the nuances and different interpretations of the word "neech", the Congress did not take this "gaffe" lightly. "Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said".
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?"
"This person is a "neech aadmi" (low-minded)".
Though, the Congress criticising Aiyar, distanced itself from his statement, the BJP termed the remark as an "insult to the whole of Gujarat" and alleged the remark was made on Rahul Gandhi's directions.
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When repeatedly asked if he was tendering apology for calling Modi "neech", Aiyar said,"Do I apologise about the word "low"? No".
The BJP had then turned the Congress leader's attack into a campaign asset - "chai pe charcha".
This was not the first time Aiyar's has sparked a controversy by using derogatory language against PM Modi.
In trying to defend his party against the "dynast" tag, Aiyar had said, "When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any election happen?"
Aiyar's unsavoury remarks have drawn a sharp reaction from Modi who dubbed it as an "insult" to Gujarat and a reflection of "Mughal mentality".
"This shows the feudal arrogance and "darbari soch" inherent in the Congress party", Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here.