Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar lashed out at reporters on Tuesday, knocking aside a microphone and using an expletive after one of them asked him about his “neech” comment about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The reporters approached him at the Punjab government guest house in Shimla and questioned him about the article he wrote in 2017, in which he called Modi a “low-life kind of person”. He was suspended from the party for almost eight months due to the remarks. Aiyar lost his cool and told the reporters to question Modi about his sharp remarks instead.

“He doesn’t talk to you because he is a coward. He doesn’t talk to the media,” Aiyar said, waving his arms in a possible imitation of Modi. He then went on to abuse the journalist and pushed aside the microphone in his hand. The journalist was heard apologising and asking him not to get angry.

In an opinion piece on Monday, Aiyar justified his controversial comments, saying they were prophetic and that Modi will be removed from office on May 23, when the results of the Lok Sabha elections are declared.