Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday expressed remorse over the damage caused to the party’s reputation due to his recent controversial remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he was ready to accept any punishment handed to him.
“If any damage has been done to Congress because of what I said or did, then I am saddened by it. I had no such intention. I am ready to accept any punishment that the Congress party wants to give me,” Aiyar told reporters.
Owing to his comments’ ramifications on the party’s chances of victory in the upcoming Gujarat election, Aiyar said, “I am confident that under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, we will win Gujarat elections.”
On Thursday, the political slugfest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress Party reached a new low when Aiyar referred to Prime Minister Modi as a “neech aadmi” for appropriating Babasaheb Ambedkar into his election campaign for the imminent assembly polls in Gujarat.
Following the remark, Congress suspended Aiyar from primary membership of the party.
Later, the senior Congress leader said the word ‘neech’ holds different meanings and added he would want to apologise for the wrong translation.
“I meant a low-minded person when I said ‘neech’. I tend to think in English when I speak in Hindi as Hindi is not my mother tongue. I never meant low-born. In English, there is a clear distinction between ‘low’ and ‘low-born’. So if it has some other meaning or it means ‘low-born’ only, then I apologise for the wrong translation,” he told media.
He had, in January 2014, before the Modi-wave took the nation by surprise, said “Modi would never become prime minister, but he was welcome to serve tea to Congressmen.”
The BJP had then turned the Congress leader’s attack into a campaign asset – “chai pe charcha”.
To this end, Aiyar said he had never called the Prime Minister a ‘Chaiwala’, adding, “You can go on the internet and check all the videos.