Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday said that his controversial description of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “neech kisam ka aadmi” – a “low-life kind of person” – in December 2017 was prophetic. Aiyar made the comment in an opinion piece in Rising Kashmir.
The Congress had suspended Aiyar for almost eight months for the remark, which was made during campaigning during the Gujarat Assembly elections. Aiyar was 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,” he had said in his defence. “So if it has some other meaning then I apologise.”
In his opinion piece published on Monday, the Congress leader said the prime minister would be ousted from his position on May 23, when Lok Sabha election results are declared. “Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?” the Congress leader said while referring to his contentious statement.
In another version of the article published in The Print, Aiyar said Modi’s ouster on May 23 “would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see”.
Aiyar wrote: “Modi needs to be warned that he is guilty of anti-national activity in trying to ride on the sacrifices of our army and Central Reserve Police Force martyrs in a dirty election campaign; of defaming the Indian Air Force by portraying them as complaisant idiots in his scientific illiteracy; and the Indian Navy as being packed at its highest echelons with traitors who would acquiesce in unauthorized foreigners being allowed to board a top of the line defence vessel.”
The Congress leader mocked Narendra Modi’s recent statement that he ordered the Indian Air Force to strike a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot town in Pakistan on February 26 despite heavy cloud cover as he thought it would protect Indian jets from Pakistani radars. “While senior Air Force officers were trembling their knees pleading for postponement of the strike till the weather improved, he thumped his 56-inch chest and saw that heavy cloud cover was actually good for the Indian Air Force because Pakistani radar would not be able to penetrate thick black clouds,” Aiyar wrote.
He added that Modi’s bravado was an insult to Air Force officials and the chief of air staff. “Not one of them was so ignorant of the fact that radar is not a telescope whose vision can be clouded over,” Aiyar said. “Radar is used precisely because, whatever the weather conditions, it can pinpoint incoming aircraft. Did Modi take his senior-most Air Force officers for fools that he could trot out such ridiculous unscientific rubbish before them? And were they so pusillanimous that they dared not correct such a vacuous prime minister?”
INS Viraat controversy
Aiyar also hit out at Modi for alleging that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had taken his family on a vacation aboard Indian Navy ship INS Viraat, and that they there were accompanied by foreigners.
“Admiral L Ramdas, then Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, and later Chief of Naval Staff, has gone on record certifying that only Rajiv and Sonia were on board INS Viraat when it sailed to Lakshadweep,” the Congress leader wrote. “Three other very senior Navy officers – Admirals Arun Kumar, Madanjeet Singh and Pasricha – who had personal knowledge of the voyage because they were involved in the arrangements, including one who was to succeed Ramdas as Chief of Naval Staff, have publicly affirmed that there were no foreigners on board the aircraft carrier.”
Aiyar told Modi to retract the allegations. “How dare he cast aspersions on the patriotism of such distinguished veterans of our defence forces?” he asked. “Either Modi is lying or these four senior, if retired, naval officers are lying.”
Aiyar’s 2017 comment
Aiyar was roundly criticised for the “neech kisam ka aadmi” remark in December 2017. Modi had said the language used by Congress leaders was unacceptable in a democracy and was a result of “dynastic mentality”.
Before suspending Aiyar, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is now the party president, had said the comments were not in line with the culture and heritage of the party. “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party,” Gandhi had tweeted. “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.”