Congress on Saturday revoked the suspension of senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar from the primary membership of the party.

The party’s president, Rahul Gandhi, approved the Central Disciplinary Committee’s recommendation to revoke the suspension with immediate effect, the party said in a press release.

Aiyar was suspended in December hours after he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “neech kisam ka aadmi – a low-life kind of person – while campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Aiyar was hugely criticised even though he had clarified that by neech he did not mean a person of low caste. “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 had said. “So if it has some other meaning then I apologise.”

Before suspending Aiyar, Gandhi said the comments do not fall in line with the culture and heritage of the Congress party. “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party,” Gandhi had 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 as well as other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders also criticised Aiyar and the Congress for the statement. Modi said the sort of language that the Congress leaders were using was unacceptable in a democracy and was a result of “dynastic mentality”.

This was not the first time that Aiyar made a comment that ended up embarrassing his party. In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he queered the pitch for the Congress when he referred to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as a “chaiwalla”.