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Mani apologizes for 'neech aadmi' remark against Modi

New Delhi: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday apologized for describing prime minister Narendra Modi as a 'neech admi' (vile person) in a statement that snowballed into a controversy with the party distancing itself from the former union minister's remarks.

Aiyar said his statement was lost in translation as he never meant to say that the PM was a low born. He said the word 'neech' was a direct translation of the word 'low'.

“The prime minister is never a low born, but he uses low language,” Aiyar clarified to reporters after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asked him to apologize for the statement.

Earlier in the day, Aiyar said, "He (Modi) is 'neech kism ka aadmi' (a vile man) who has no 'sabhyata' (civility)," attacking Modi after the latter accused the Congress of seeking votes in B R Ambedkar's name but trying to erase his contribution to building India.

The prime minister, while inaugurating the Ambedkar International Centre that was conceived 23 years ago, hit out at the Congress, saying parties seeking votes in Ambedkar's name tried to erase his contribution to nation building.

"Such was his (Ambedkar's) incredible strength that when years after his demise efforts were made by such people to crush his philosophy, when efforts were made to erase his contribution towards nation building, his ideals could not be wiped out from people's memory," he said.

He said he would not be wrong in saying that "more people are still influenced by his (Ambedkar's) ideas than the family for which such efforts (to erase his contribution) were made"

Aiyar claimed that it was the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru who recognized Ambedkar's potential.

"What is the need for doing dirty politics on such an occasion?" he asked.

Reacting to Aiyar's comments, Modi said it said it reflected the "Mughal mentality" which hates people who even wear good clothes. “Have I done any 'neech' work in my public life,” he asked BJP workers at a Surat rally. The prime minister said Aiyar's comment was an insult to Gujarat.

The Congress was quick to distance itself from Aiyar's comment and said it did not suit the party's culture and heritage.

"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 Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologize for what he said,” party vice-president Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

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Tags: Congress.Modi neech aadmi