Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday said that he was ready to face any punishment his party deemed fit if his remarks have hurt the party ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, ANI reported.

“If any damage has been done to Congress because of what I said or did, then I am saddened by it,” Aiyar said. “I had no such intention. I am ready to accept any punishment that the Congress party wants to give me.”

Aiyar was suspended from the primary membership of the party on Thursday hours after he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “neech”, a comment that was criticised by party Vice President Rahul Gandhi as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Gandhi said Aiyar’s comments do not fall in line with the culture and heritage of the party. “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party,” Gandhi said on Twitter. “I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said.”

Modi hit out at the Congress over Aiyar’s statements. He said the sort of language that the Congress leaders were using was unacceptable in a democracy and was a result of “dynastic mentality”.

In response, Aiyar claimed he made the remark because Hindi was not his mother tongue. “I meant low level when I said ‘neech’, I think in English when I speak in Hindi as Hindi is not my mother tongue,” Aiyer said. “So if it has some other meaning then I apologise.”