Just ahead of Gujarat elections, senior Congress leader and an old Gandhi family loyalist, Mani Shankar Aiyar, left the grand old party in an embarrassing situation as he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “neech kisam ka aadmi.” In a quick damage control exercise, Congress suspended him from its primary membership and the A K Antony-headed disciplinary action committee issued him a show-cause notice. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi too deplored Aiyar’s language against the prime minister and asked him to apologise, which the former Union Minister did, a he claimed that his knowledge of Hindi was not good.
Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” remark is third such attempt from the Congress camp that has enabled PM Modi and BJP to seize the opportunity and turn it into their favour.
Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala tweeted and said the action of the party showed respect for the political rival. He asked whether prime minister Modi would dare to act similarly.
यही हैं कांग्रेस का गांधीवादी नेतृत्व व विरोधी के प्रति सम्मान की भावना।
कांग्रेस पार्टी ने श्री मनी शंकर अय्यर को कारण बताओ नोटिस जारी कर प्राथमिक सदस्यता से निलम्बित कर दिया है।Advertisement
क्या मोदी जी कभी यह साहस दिखाएँगे? https://t.co/h6MEgvm6Ca
— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) December 7, 2017
I strongly condemn attempts made by some Congress leaders to weaken @OfficeOfRG & @INCIndia. If these leaders truly believe in the Congress ideology, they should be more circumspect in their choice of words. We need to all strengthen the hands of our President to be
— Sheila Dikshit (@SheilaDikshit) December 7, 2017
However, The BJP termed the action an eyewash.
Mani Shankar Aiyer’s ‘Neech’ -attack on Prime Minister- a deliberate casteist statement, a convenient apology, a strategic suspension. People should see through this game
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 7, 2017
PM Modi claimed the remark was a casteist slur against him.
An election rally in Surat, the Prime Minister said: “They can call me neech jaati. Yes, I am from the poor section of society and will spend every moment of my life to work for the poor, Dalits, tribals and backward classes. That is my culture. They can keep their language, we will do our work.”
The prime minister also said that Aiyar has a number of university degrees, was a diplomat for a number of years, but was resorting to such insults.
The whole episode was enough to give fodder to Twitterati:
— Raju (@nbrengaraju) December 7, 2017
आज से गुजरात में प्रचार बन्द होना था, पर अगले 2 दिन तक मणिशंकर के बयान पर मीडिया में जोर शोर से जो भाजपा का प्रचार होगा वो मणिशंकर जी जीवन भर नही भुला पाएंगे। शायद हिट विकेट इसे ही कहते है।
— Rajiv Gupta (@rajiv_gupta011) December 7, 2017
— Amitoj Gautam (@amitojgautam) December 7, 2017
भाई तू माफी मत मांग।ऐसे ही बोल्तरह।कौन कहता है कांग्रेस में रह कर राष्ट्र का भला नही कर सकते?
— Rahul (@Rahul87940882) December 7, 2017
Beta , Tum to Modiji ko Nich bole ho. Log iska Reply denge . Gali dekar bolte ho Maf kar de.
— Swapan Gupta (@SwapanGupta4) December 7, 2017
We need to be polite, moderate and well spoken not to be required to may give clarification about what we meant or mean to say. Nation require our leaders to acquire statesmanship like our legendary leaders such as Gandhi, Subhash, Nehru,Patel,Indira, Atal, Narasimha & many more.
— Subhash Chander (@schanderkaushik) December 7, 2017
Funny politics by funny political party.
— Santosh Reddy (@SantoshReddy414) December 7, 2017
U lost ur mind man better retire & use these words to ur wife, sons , daughter in laws . Dey ll accept this explanation & forgive
— Dharanesh (@dharaneshds) December 8, 2017
Mr Manishankar Ayer you have a very good command in Hindi language so you deliberately called our PM with this unparliamentary language…
— Sanjay Chakravorty (@sanjay_chk) December 8, 2017
Most unfortunate and arrogant statement .It has damaged whatever littlle prospects the congress has .
— vasudevarao (@vvrao) December 8, 2017
The first phase of polling in Gujarat will begin on December 9. It will see people exercising their franchise in 89 out of 182 seats in the sensitive Saurashtra and South Gujarat districts.