Didn't mean 'low-born' when I said 'neech', clarifies Aiyar

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The Congress today suspended senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar from the primary membership of the party and issued him a show cause notice after he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "neech kism ka aadmi" (vile sort of man).

While inaugurating International Baba Saheb Ambedkar Centre in Delhi, PM Modi had accused Congress of disparaging Baba Saheb's contribution for endorsing the interests of one family.

He said, "BJP and PM Modi routinely use filthy language to attack Congress but this is not our party's culture and heritage". "But in Hindi if low means low-born, then I tender apology", he told reporters.

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Earlier, 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. "You called us donkey, you called us gandi nali ka keeda (worm of a dirty drain), you called us maut ka saudagar (merchant of death), you said I am of neech jaati (lower caste man) and neech". I never meant low-born. "But we will live according to our sanskars (values)", Modi said, launching an onslaught against Congress leaders who called him names in the past. "Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said", Gandhi tweeted this afternoon. So I used "low person", I translated "low" in my mind.

Learning from the political damage in 2014 Lok Sabha election cause by personal attacks against PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi had given clear guidelines to Gujarat Congress leaders not to resort to attacking Modi personally. Modi, who was addressing an election rally here, said Aiyar's comments were an "insult" to Gujarat.

"There is very deplorable and feudal mindset behind this condemnable observation that only a "waris" (heir) of the Gandhi-Nehru family can run this country and only they are capable of doing so", the BJP leader said. 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. He even confessed to using another derogatory term, "Nalayak" about former Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee, because he did not understand the word's meaning. "Can Modiji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) ever show such conviction?" he added.

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