The Bharatiya Janata Party has termed the Congress’ action against party leader ‘Mani Shankar Aiyar a ‘strategic suspension’, and that his ‘neech’ remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, a “deliberate casteist statement.”
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took to Twitter to react to the Congress party suspending Aiyar from the primary membership of the party for his jibe at the Prime Minister.
"Mani Shankar Aiyer's 'Neech' attack on Prime Minister - a deliberate casteist statement, a convenient apology, a strategic suspension. People should see through this game," the Finance Minister tweeted.
Jaitley lashed out at Aiyar, saying his remark displays the mindset that "only one elite family" can rule this country.
Aiyar earlier on Thursday called Modi a "neech aadmi" (vile man) who does "dirty politics" after the PM targeted the Congress saying that parties seeking votes in BR Ambedkar's name tried to erase his contribution to nation building the party.
Reacting to Aiyar's remark, Jaitley said the Congress party has challenged the weaker and backward sections of India by calling the Prime Minister 'neech'.
"The strength of India's democracy will be displayed when a person of humble background politically defeats the dynasty and its representatives," the Finance Minister said.
In another tweet, Jaitley said, "Mani Shankar Aiyer's 'Neech' remark against the prime minister displays a mindset that only one elite family can be a ruler and the rest are only the 'Neech'."
Mani Shankar Aiyer’s ‘Neech’ -attack on Prime Minister- a deliberate casteist statement, a convenient apology, a strategic suspension. People should see through this game— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 7, 2017
Earlier, Aiyar claimed that it was the country's first PM Jawaharlal Nehru who recognised Ambedkar's potential.
"What is the need for doing dirty politics on such an occasion?" he asked after the Prime Minister attacked the Congress while inaugurating the Ambedkar International Centre that was conceived 23 years ago.
The Congress on Thursday suspended Aiyar from the primary membership of the party and issued him a show-cause notice for his remark.
The Congress Party has challenged the weaker and backward sections of India by calling the Prime Minister as ’Neech’ . The strength of India’s Democracy will be displayed when a person of humble background politically defeats the dynasty and its representatives.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 7, 2017
Aiyar later issued an apology saying he did not mean to say that the PM was a ‘low-born’, but was referring to Modi’s ‘low level’ of politics.
"I did not mean to say that the PM is low-born. 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," he said.
Aiyar came under fire from Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for his remarks against the PM and said that the Congress has a different culture from the BJP.
“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,” Rahul said on Thursday.