As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar traded barbs against each other, Congress vice-president intervened for damage control. In what appeared like similar to his “chaiwala” jibe against Modi in 2014, Aiyar on Thursday used the word “neech” (low-life) for the Prime Minister. Rahul Gandhi asked Aiyar to apologise to PM Modi over the use of word ‘neech’ for the latter. “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage,” Rahul said in a tweet. “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,” he added.
Aiyar, however, didn’t apologise unconditionally but ran for a cover. He said by using the word ‘neech’ he meant ‘low’. “I meant low level when I said ‘neech’, I think in English when I speak in Hindi as Hindi is not my mother tongue. So if it has some other meaning then I apologize,” Aiyar said.
“Why was PM taking a jibe at Congress and Rahul Gandhi at inauguration of a Centre on Baba Saheb Ambedkar? Everyday PM is using foul language against our leaders. I am a freelance Congressi, I hold no post in the party, so I can reply to PM in his language,” Aiyar added.
Earlier, PM Modi also took strong objection to Aiyar’s statement in which he used the word ‘neech’ while referring to the former. Modi termed Aiyar’s remarks as ‘unacceptable’ and said the words show Congress leaders’ ‘Mughalai Mindset’.
“Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in a democracy. One Congress leader, who has studied in best institutions, served as a diplomat, was a minister in Cabinet, he said Modi is ‘Neech.’ This is insulting. This is nothing but a Mughalai Mindset,” PM Modi said “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,” he added. “You all have seen me – I have been CM and PM. Has anyone had to hold his or her head in shame due to me. Have I done any shameful thing. Then why are they calling me ‘Neech’,” he further said.
Earlier, Aiyar had called PM Modi ‘neech’ and ill-mannered. Speaking to media, Aiyar said there was no need to do cheap politics on the occasion inaugurating Ambedkar International Centre. “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?,” he said. Aiyar’s remark came in response to PM Modi’s statement earlier in the day where he had hit out at Congress by saying that parties seeking votes in BR Ambedkar’s name tried to erase his contribution in nation building and did little to build the Ambedkar International Centre conceived 23 years ago.