Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday said that the party has given him a lot and that India has no future, if there is no Congress party left in the country. He also said that he would accept any punishment if the party suffers damage in the Gujarat polls because of his comments. “The Congress has given me a lot. There is no future for India if there is no Congress,” he said on the sidelines of an India-Pakistan seminar in New Delhi today. “If the Congress suffers any damage in the Gujarat polls because of my comments, then whatever punishment the party deems fit I will accept it,” he added. Aiyer was suspended from the party on Thursday for making derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The disciplinary action against the senior leader came after he called the prime minister a “neech kism ka aadmi” (vile sort of man). “He (Modi) is ‘neech kism ka aadmi’ (a vile man) who has no ‘sabhyata’ (civility),” Aiyar said, who has often courted controversy with his off-the-cuff remarks said, attacking Modi after the latter accused the Congress of seeking votes in B R Ambedkar’s name and that it was trying to erase his contribution to building India. With his comment, Aiyar kicked up a row and drew a sharp reaction from the latter who dubbed it as an “insult” to Gujarat and a reflection of “Mughal mentality”.
The prime minister, while inaugurating the Ambedkar International Centre had yesterday hit out at the Congress, saying parties seeking votes in the name of the architect of the Indian Constitution’s name tried to erase his contribution to nation building. “Such was his (Ambedkar’s) incredible strength that when years after his demise efforts were made by such people to crush his philosophy, when efforts were made to erase his contribution towards nation building, his ideals could not be wiped out from people’s memory,” he said.
The Congress strongly disapproved Aiyar’s remarks, and Vice Predisent Rahul Gandhi too tweeted that he and the party expected the senior leader to apologise. “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,” Gandhi said on Twitter. Aiyar subsequently did apologise in public.
Gujarat goes to polls tomorrow, December 9 for the first phase of the elections. The second phase is on December 14.