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The Congress party on Saturday revoked the suspension of senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar from the primary membership of the party, 8 months after he had been suspended for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'neech'.
Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot in a press release announced that Congress President Rahul Gandhi has approved the recommendation of the Central Disciplinary Committee of AICC for revocation of suspension of Mani Shankar Aiyar from the Primary Membership of the party with immediate effect.
INC COMMUNIQUE— INC Sandesh (@INCSandesh) August 18, 2018
Announcement of the revocation of suspension of Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar from the Primary Membership of the Congress Party. pic.twitter.com/vQm1VpeVv8
On December 7, 2017, ahead of the Gujarat state assembly elections, Congress had suspended leader and former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar after he stoked controversy by referring to PM Modi as a 'neech aadmi'. His statements resulted in swift backlash as PM Modi, BJP leaders, as well as other Congress leaders, slammed his choice of words.
"He (Modi) is neech kism ka aadmi who has no sabhyata (civility)," Aiyar had said after the PM accused Congress of using Dalit icon B R Ambedkar to get votes.
PM Modi responded to Aiyar's quip at an election rally in Surat, saying that Aiyar's comments are an insult to Gujarat.
"Mani Shankar Aiyar has called me neech and from nichli jaati (lower caste). Is this not an insult to Gujarat? Is it not an insult to India's great values? But people of Gujarat will take revenge on December 18 and teach you the precise meaning of neech," Modi said.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi attempted damage control by tweeting disapproval of Aiyar's comments and asking him to apologise.
"BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mani Shankar Aiyar to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said," Rahul said.
Meanwhile, Aiyar blamed the controversy on his poor Hindi.
"My Hindi is not very good. Yes, I called Modi 'neech' but did not mean it as a low-born; I meant it as low," said Aiyar.
Subsequently, Aiyar was suspended.