"The Congress party has issued a show-cause notice to Mani Shankar Aiyar and suspended him from the primary membership of the party," Congress media in-charge Randeep Surjewala said.
यही हैं कांग्रेस का गांधीवादी नेतृत्व व विरोधी के प्रति सम्मान की भावना।
कांग्रेस पार्टी ने श्री मनी शंकर अय्यर को कारण बताओ नोटिस जारी कर प्राथमिक सदस्यता से निलम्बित कर दिया है।
क्या मोदी जी कभी यह साहस दिखाएँगे? https://t.co/h6MEgvm6Ca
— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) December 7, 2017
Aiyar on Thursday set off a political firestorm when he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "neech kism ka aadmi" (a vile man), a remark the latter claimed was a casteist slur against him.
Chastised, Aiyar was soon on national television proffering clarification, insisting it was because of his poor understanding of Hindi language that he used the word, and tendering an apology.
"I am told that 'neech' has many meanings, many connotations in Hindi, and if Mr Modi chooses to distort it to claim that it means low born, then all I can do is to apologise for having used a word that could be interpreted as low born. But that was not my intention at all and certainly not a part of my culture.
"Therefore, for the misinterpretation that can be given to the word, I extend my apologies, particularly since it is going to harm the Congress party's interests in Gujarat," he said.
Aiyar said he was asked about Modi's criticism of the Congress at an event and "the bulk of my answer dealt with Modi's very, very nasty remarks about the Congress party and Dr Ambedkar and I used the word 'neech'."
He said his "intention was not to talk of his (Modi's) family".
When repeatedly asked if he was tendering apology for calling Modi 'neech', Aiyar said,"Do I apologise about the word 'low'? No. Do I apologise about the word that is translated which says 'low born'? Absolutely yes."
Draws Rahul's ire
Earlier, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi too disapproved of Aiyar's remarks and said both he and the party expected the senior leader to apologise.
"BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. 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," Gandhi said on Twitter.
Slammed by PM Modi for his 'Mughal mentality'
Aiyar's remark has drawn a sharp reaction from the latter who dubbed it as an "insult" to Gujarat and a reflection of "Mughal mentality".
Modi, who was in Surat, latched on to Aiyar's comments, saying it was an insult to Gujarat.
Targeting Aiyar, Modi said he came from a good family, has a number of university degrees, was a diplomat for a number of years and remained a Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, but was resorting to such insults. "This is an insult to Gujarat. Not just to Gujarat but to the entire nation."
"You are the people who discriminated on the basis of caste. Not we. They feel troubled. You call us 'gandi naali ka keeda'. You call us low caste people but we won't lose our culture."
He said Aiyar was speaking out of the "Mughlai mindset" that "sees everyone as 'neech'".
"They called us donkeys, neech, gandi naali ke keede...the people of Gujarat will give a befitting reply to such derogatory language. The Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in democracy.
"We have seen enough insults from them. They insulted me when I was the Chief Minister. They called me 'maut ka saudagar' and wanted to jail me. But our value system is strong. We have nothing to say to such elements. Our answer will come through the ballot box.
"I appeal to all BJP activists not to retort. But answer them on December 9 and 14 (voting days). My people should not lower their standards. We will teach them a lesson. Voting results would mean what low caste means when everyone votes for the BJP. You have lost your mental balance. I am not upset because I work for the people.
"You all have seen me. I have been the Chief Minister and Prime Minister. Has anyone had to hold his or her head in shame because of me? Have I done any shameful thing? Then why are they calling me 'neech'?"