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NEW DELHI: After sparking a political firestorm when he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “neech aadmi”, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has been suspended from the party’s primary membership.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala took to Twitter to notify of the party’s move to suspend Aiyar after serving him with a showcause notice.
“This shows the Congress party’s Gandhian leadership and respect for rival political parties. The Congress has issued a showcause notice to Mani Shankar Aiyar and suspended him from primary membership of the party. Will Modi ji ever show this kind of courage?” Surjewala said in the tweet.
यही हैं कांग्रेस का गांधीवादी नेतृत्व व विरोधी के प्रति सम्मान की भावना। कांग्रेस पार्टी ने श्री मनी शंकर अय्यर को… https://t.co/MShZm5xFpi
— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala)
Aiyar’s comments describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “neech kism ka aadmi” had been roundly condemned by the political establishment. While PM Modi construed Aiyar’s remark as a casteist slur, the Congress too disassociated itself from the seemingly personal attack against the PM.
Earlier in the day, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had admonished Aiyar, who has often courted controversy with his off-the-cuff comments, prompting the senior leader to apologise.
Aiyar issued a clarification, insisting it was because of his poor understanding of Hindi language that he used the word ‘neech’, and said he was “sorry” if he’d inadvertently offended the Prime Minister.
“I am told that ‘neech’ has many meanings, many connotations in Hindi, and if Mr Modi chooses to distort it to claim that it means low born, then all I can do is to apologise for having used a word that could be interpreted as low born. But that was not my intention at all and certainly not a part of my culture,” he told mediapersons.
The disciplinary action against the Gandhi family loyalist came barely two days before the first phase of Assembly poll in Gujarat.