The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday slammed the Congress for its leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's justification of his "neech aadmi" jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 and sought its response on that.
"I want to know what the Congress has to say on his (Aiyar's) justification," Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told a press conference.
Asserting that no other Prime Minister before Modi had to face as much abuse from opposition, he said, "In a healthy democracy, no one should use abusive words against the President or the Prime Minister because they are not mere individuals.
"They are institutions. And the sanctity of institutions should not be lowered at any cost. Such actions weaken our democracy," he said.
The Home Minister was reacting to an opinion piece written by Aiyar in "Rising Kashmir" newspaper on Tuesday.
In the article, Aiyar wrote: "Modi will, in any case, be ousted by the people of India on May 23. That would be a fitting end to the PM. Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?"
In 2017, Aiyar called Modi a "neech aadmi" (lowly man) following which he was suspended from the Congress.
In his write-up, Aiyar went on to say, "Modi needs to be warned that he is guilty of anti-national activity in trying to ride the sacrifices of our army and CRPF martyrs in a dirty election campaign; of defaming the Indian Air Force by portraying them as complaisant idiots in his scientific illiteracy; and the Indian Navy as being packed at its highest echelons with traitors who would acquiesce in unauthorised foreigners being allowed to board a top of the line defence vessel."
BJP spokeperson GVL Narasimha Rao called Aiyar "abuser-in-chief" and tweeted: "Aiyar returns to justify 2017 'neech' jibe at @narendramodi Ji. Aiyar then apologised and hid behind poor Hindi excuse. Now he says he was prophetic. The Congress revoked his suspension last year. Double-speak and arrogance of @INCIndia on display again!"
Reacting to Aiyar calling the Prime Minister "anti-national", Rao called him "Pak-crony" and said the nation knew that Modi was the epitome of "Rashtra Bhakti".
"Aiyar is known for 'parivar bhakti' as a (political) slave of the dynasty. It isn't surprising at all that all abusers are close Gandhi confidantes!," he said in another tweet.
Another BJP spokeperson Sambit Patra wrote on Twitter: "So finally ...the "jewel" of the Gandhi family too has contributed to the "politics of love" of Rahul Gandhi in #LokSabhaElections2019 by defining his "neech comment" on Modiji as prophetic."
BJP's social media head Amit Malviya tweeted, "Upset that Sam Pitroda was getting all the attention, the irrepressible Mani Shankar Aiyar pulls Pitroda's foot out of his mouth and puts it in his...Reiterates and justifies his 'neech' comment for PM!"