'Neech' remark row: Congress suspends Mani Shankar Aiyar

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Seizing on Mani Shankar Aiyar's "neech" jibe, BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday listed several of such "indecent" remarks by Congress leaders against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it had been the "culture" of the party.

Expressing his thoughts on Twitter, Gandhi said that it is not the Congress party's culture to use such language against political opponents.

The swift reaction by Congress followed Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi berating Aiyar for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "neech" person. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar to address the PM.

"The Congress party has served a show cause notice to Mani Shankar Aiyar and suspended him from the primary membership of the party", Surjewala said.

The people of Gujarat would teach the "anti-OBC, anti-ST and anti-poor" Congress a lesson in the upcoming polls, Shah said.

"Are we going to integrate them (Muslims)?"

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Prasad alleged that Aiyar targetted Modi because the latter had questioned the delayed conferring of Bharat Ratna - the countrys highest civilian award - on Dalit icon Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Aiyar said his statement was lost in translation as he never meant to say that the PM was a low born. "Have I done any "neech" work?"

Aiyar claimed that it was the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru who recognised Ambedkar's potential. While PM Modi construed Aiyar's remark as a casteist slur, the Congress too disassociated itself from the seemingly personal attack against the PM.

Speaking to media, Aiyar said: "My mother tongue is not Hindi and I do not use any filthy words". "They called me "Maut Ka Saudagar" and wanted to jail me", he said. "So if it has some other meaning then I apologise", he said. Modi and his party, the BJP had used the remarks to their advantage while reminding people that he was being targetted for having a humble background.

"It is the feudal, arrogant thinking that only they (Congress) can rule India and no one else", the Union minister said. "I can reply to the Prime Minister in his language", he added.

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