Congress Suspends Mani Shankar Aiyar For His Casteist Comment About PM Modi

Congress Suspends Mani Shankar Aiyar For His Casteist Comment About PM Modi

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar was today suspended from the primary membership of the party for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "neech aadmi", a remark that the PM Modi said was aimed at his humble origins.

"This is Congress' Gandhian leadership and respect for its political rivals.Will Modi ji display such courage?", he asked.

This came after Aiyar called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "neech aadmi" (vile man), triggering sharp reactions from the BJP and censure from his own party two days before voting starts in the Gujarat elections.

Modi said people of Gujarat had seen his 14 years as chief minister and then prime minister.

The prime minister said he may belong to a low caste but his values were such that he always did (uchha) good work.

Speaking to the media here, Aiyar said, "I meant a low-minded person when I said "neech". I never meant low-born.

In the run up to the Gujarat polls, the BJP has been appropriating Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar to accuse the Congress Party of meting out an unjust treatment to legends like them.

"This is Mughal mentality which hates people who even wear good clothes", he said but asked BJP workers and supporters not to respond to Aiyar's remarks.


"This person is a "neech aadmi" (low-minded)". In English, there is a clear distinction between "low" and "low-born". "So if it has some other meaning then I apologise", he said. Do I apologise about the word that is translated which says "low born"?

"Why was PM taking a jibe at Congress and Rahul Gandhi at the inauguration of Ambedkar International Centre?"

While addressing the session along with Pakistan's former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the bureaucrat-turned-politician was quoted by ANI saying, "There is a large section in India that believes Muslims were responsible for India's vivisection and therefore draws parallel between Muslims who created Pakistan and the Muslims who remained in India".

Wading into the controversy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Aiyar's "neech" remark displayed a mindset that only one elite family can be a ruler and the rest are only the "neech".

"If you are unsure of the language or facts, then you are unfit to be in politics", he said.

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?"

Even his own party colleague Ajay Maken, then a minister in the UPA government, was not spared of his scorn in 2011 as Aiyar poked fun at him over his letter, saying a "BA pass" from Hansraj college in Delhi can not use a word like "dichotomous".

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