Ahmedabad, Dec 7 With its leader Mani Shankar Aiyar coming under attack for his "neech aadmi" remark against Narendra Modi, the Congress today said that Rahul Gandhi had asked party leaders not to use uncouth language when referring to the prime minister.
The disciplinary action against Aiyar came barely two days before the first phase of Gujarat elections. While PM Modi construed Aiyar's remark as a casteist slur, the Congress too disassociated itself from the seemingly personal attack against the PM.
"The Congress party has suspended Mani Shankar Aiyar from party's primary membership and issued him a show-cause notice", Surjewala said.
Aiyar today kicked up a row when he called Modi a "neech" (vile man) after the prime minister, while inaugurating the Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi, hit out at the Congress, saying parties seeking votes in Ambedkar's name tried to erase his contribution to nation building.
Aiyar, though, had also said that anybody was free to contest election against Gandhi but Modi seized on his Mughal reference to liken Gandhi's elevation to "Aurangzeb raaj".
The Congress strongly disapproved of Aiyar's remarks, with party Vice President Rahul Gandhi saying he and the party expected the leader to tender an apology. Aiyar has also been served a show cause notice.
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Speaking to ANI, Aiyar had said, "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?"
The prime minister who was campaigning in Surat today, quickly latched onto this and said that the comments reflected the "Mughal" mindset of the congress party.
The prime minister said he may belong to a low caste but his values were such that he always did (uchha) good work. "Absolutely yes." The Congress leader said he does not think Modi was low born "but the language.I would say is very low".
Aiyar said his statement was lost in translation as he never meant to say that the PM was a low born. "This is an insult to Gujarat".
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. "Rahul Gandhi has said no Congress member should lose decency and balance in the use of words", Surjewala said at a press conference. "The word I used has different meanings and the meaning Prime Minister Modi is making out is not what I meant".
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.