Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday triggered another storm calling Narendra Modi a “neech aadmi”, while the Prime Minister said describing him as “neech jaati” was an insult to Gujaratis who will vote out the Congress in the state assembly elections. By evening, Congress president-in-waiting had sought an apology from the senior leader, and when Aiyar’s contrition was not straightforward enough, he was booted out of the party.
Pride of Gujarat & India PM Modi insulted by Mani Shankar Aiyër again.
MS Aiyër calls Modi “Neech Admi”
Born in OBC Caste is Neech?
Born in poor family means Neech ?
Shame on Cong Casteist Politics! pic.twitter.com/UkQYbFfSPg
— Sriram (@srirambjp) December 7, 2017
In a quick damage control exercise, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi deprecated Aiyar’s language against the Prime Minister and asked him to apologize which the former Union Minister did, claiming his knowledge of Hindi was not good. He also maintained that he never called Modi a “low born”.
BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) December 7, 2017
As Aiyar’s remarks that Modi was a “neech aadmi” (low man) in the context of his criticism of the Congress vis-a-vis B.R. Ambedkar snowballed, the Prime Minister referred to it in an election meeting in Surat and attacked the Congress leader, saying he called him a “neech jaati” (low caste).
I have nothing to say on a ‘wise’ Congress leader calling me ’Neech’. This is the Congress mindset. They have their language and we have our work. People will answer them through the ballot box. https://t.co/2McoZnaoar pic.twitter.com/icGqAphUzy
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 7, 2017
“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,” Modi told an election rally.
And Mani gets the boot
The Congress on Thursday night suspended senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar from its primary membership and slapped a show cause notice on him for his “neech” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has mushroomed into a massive controversy just ahead of the Gujarat polls.
Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala broke the news through a tweet. “The Congress party has suspended Mani Shankar Aiyar from party’s primary membership and issued him a show-cause notice,” Surjewala said. “This is Congress party’s Gandhiwaad and sense of respect towards its rivals. Can Modiji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) ever show such conviction?” he added.
Modi said Aiyar came from a good family, has a number of university degrees, was a diplomat for a number of years and remained a Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, but was resorting to such insults. “This is an insult to Gujarat. Not just to Gujarat but to the entire nation.”
He said Aiyar was speaking out of the “Mughlai mindset” that “sees everyone as ‘neech'”.
“They called us donkeys, neech, gandi naali ke keede…the people of Gujarat will give a befitting reply to such derogatory language. The Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in democracy.
This Mughlai Mindset sees everyone but prices as ‘Neech.’ What all have they called us- donkeys, Neech, Gandi Naali Ke Keede…the people of Gujarat will give a fitting answer to such deplorable language: PM @narendramodi #SuratWithModi
— BJP (@BJP4India) December 7, 2017
“We have seen enough insults from them. They insulted me when I was the Chief Minister. They called me ‘maut ka saudagar’ and wanted to jail me. But our value system is strong. We have nothing to say to such elements. Our answer will come through the ballot box.
Why blame #ManiShankarAiyar alone, Mrs Sonia Gandhi also used the same #Neech word for PM @narendramodi . It’s not language issue, it’s a mindset issue of Congress, feudalistic, casteist and elitist. pic.twitter.com/zmFNYnVd8R
— Sriram (@srirambjp) December 7, 2017
“I appeal to all BJP activists not to retort. But answer them on December 9 and 14 (voting days). My people should not lower their standards. We will teach them a lesson. Voting results would mean what low caste means when everyone votes for the BJP. You have lost your mental balance. I am not upset because I work for the people.”
As the row became an embarrassment for the Congress, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to disapprove of Aiyar’s language.
“The BJP and the Prime Minister routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mani Shankar Aiyar to address the Prime Minister. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologize for what he said,” Gandhi said.
Neither shocked nor surprised by Mani Shankar Aiyar’s referring to PM as ‘Neech.’ This is the culture of the Congress Party. People of Gujarat will punish anti-poor, anti-Dalit, anti-Tribal and anti-OBC Congress.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 7, 2017
Reporters got around to Aiyar at a function in Delhi’s WWF Auditorium Hall and asked him about Modi’s attack and Gandhi’s suggestion to him to apologize.
“Yes, I used the word ‘neech’. Now, I am not a Hindi speaker and I translate from English to Hindi. So I used ‘low person’, I translated ‘low’ in my mind. If it happened to mean something else. I apologize. ‘Neech’ as I understand is a direct translation of ‘low’.
“I never meant ‘low born’. In English there’s a clear distinction between ‘low’ and ‘low born’. It is very possible that in Hindi — which is not my natural language and which I learned after much effort — I translated ‘low’ as ‘neech’. But if neech also means ‘low born’ then I apologize that I used a word which can be interpreted in many ways, and in the way Modiji is interpreting it, I have nothing to do with that.
“I don’t think he is low born but his language is very, I’ll say in English, is very low language. Why would he use such a low language for the Congress on such an occasion. Whatever I say they want to misinterpret. As far as I am concerned the bulk of my remarks dealt with Modi’s very, very nasty remarks about the Congress, particularly with Gandhi’s relationship with Ambedkar.”
Imagine The Outrage If A BJP Senior Leader Would’ve Snatched NDTV Journalist’s Mike & Asked Them To “F*CK OFF”. SICKular Libtards Would’ve Been Breaking Bangles At Jantar Mantar Crying Intolerance.#CongNeechPolitics #Neech #ManiShankarAiyar #NeechAadmi
— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) December 7, 2017
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”.
Mani Shankar Aiyer’s ‘Neech’ remark against the Prime Minister displays a mindset that only one elite family can be a ruler and the rest are only the ‘Neech’.
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 7, 2017
“The Congress Party has challenged the weaker and backward sections of India by calling the Prime Minister as ‘neech’ . The strength of India’s democracy will be displayed when a person of humble background politically defeats the dynasty and its representatives,” he said in tweets.
Jaitley later told reporters that it was part of a Congress strategy to belittle the Prime Minister every day and then say “I will retract”.
“If you are unsure of the language or facts, then you are unfit to be in politics,” he said.
Gotta hand it to the PM though, if you bowl such loose deliveries in the slog overs he’s going to hit them for a six & that’s what’s been done with the neech nonsense.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 7, 2017
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) December 7, 2017
• Maut ka Saudagar (Gujrat, 2007)
• Zehar ki kheti (K’taka, 2014)
• Gujrat ke Gadhe (UP, Feb 2017)
• Neech (Delhi, Dec 2017)
All comments made for PM Modi. Thrice lost for such abuses. Let’s c what’s in store in #GujaratElection2017
— Anindya (@AninBanerjeeeee) December 7, 2017
— PhD in Bakchodi (@Atheist_Krishna) December 7, 2017
Rahul Gandhi asks Mani Shankar Aiyar to apologise for ‘neech’ comment on PM, says ‘do not appreciate tone & language’
– Difference between Us & Them, Had BJP leader done such a thing, PM would have immediately started following him on Twitter instead of asking him to apologise.
— Saral Patel (@SaralPatel007) December 7, 2017
We are harping on anything & everything. From Mandir-Masjid, Unch-Neech, to Kapil Sibal’s statements, to popular leader @OfficeOfRG Rahul Gandhi’s lineage & family background. But not about the promises, the much awaited Development or Vikas ka mudda, or Gujarat model if any.1>2
— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) December 7, 2017
(Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)