Exactly one year, five months and six days after the 'Neech' remark was made ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections of 2017, Congress has unleashed its leader Mani Shankar Aiyar once again to defend, justify and reiterate the same insult against Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the final phase of polling of the 17th Lok Sabha election.
In an article, Aiyar reiterated the comment and justified the Neech remark while writing, “What would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see. Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?”
On December 7, 2017, Aiyar’s highly controversial ‘Neech’ remark against Prime Minister which labelled Narendra Modi as "neech kisam ka aadmi" changed the Gujarat assembly election. Aiyar had said, ‘Mujhko lagta hai ki ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, isme koi sabhyata nahi hai, or aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai?’ which translates to: "I feel that this man (PM Modi) is a very lowly and degenerate person. On an occasion like this, what is the need for this dirty politics?"
After the remark whipped up a political storm for its beaming classist and casteist undertones, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had responded to the ‘Neech’ remark by calling out the Congress’ “Mughalai Mindset”. PM Modi on the day of the insult in 2017 had said ‘Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in democracy. One Congress leader, who has studied in best institutions, served as a diplomat, was a Minister in Cabinet, he said Modi is 'Neech.' This is insulting. This is nothing but a Mughalai Mindset’.
Moreover, the fury across India led to an eventual response from the Congress top leadership. Reacting to Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark, now Congress President Rahul Gandhi had tweeted in December 2017 expressed disapproval vis-a-vis the remark. “I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM”, Gandhi tweeted.
PRIYANKA GANDHI VADRA THE ORIGINAL SOURCE OF THE ‘NEECH’ CONTROVERSY
The ‘neech’ remark did not surface for the first time on 7 December 2017 and is traced originally to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The present General Secretary and member of the Congress’ ‘first family’ had accused the then BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of ‘neech rajneeti’ in the 2014 General Election campaign.
In 2014 itself, in another moment that shifted the gears and narrative of the campaign, Narendra Modi had responded to the remark by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at a rally in Domariyaganj in Uttar Pradesh saying, ‘I cannot deny I was born into a ‘neech jaati’ but is that a crime?’
While Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyar has been known to change the narrative, for all the wrong reasons in election season, and the examples are aplenty - from the ‘Chaiwala’ remark in 2014 to the ‘Neech’ attack in 2017 - now it remains to be seen if and how this Congress Neech Attack Part 2 will impact the momentum of the last 5 days of the 2019 general election.