Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday apologised for using the word “neech” (low) for Prime Minister Narendra Modi but maintained that he had not referred to him as “low-born”.

“I never meant low-born. There is a difference in English language between words ‘low’ and ‘’low-born’. But in Hindi if low means low-born, then I tender apology,” he told reporters after his remarks triggered a political storm.

Asked about Rahul Gandhi’s tweet that he did not appreciate Aiyar’s words to address the Prime Minister, Aiyar said he could talk about it only after meeting Gandhi.

Rahul pulls up Congress party

Earlier in the day, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi asked senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar to apologise for his “neech” barb against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Expressing his thoughts on Twitter, Gandhi said that it is not the Congress party’s culture to use such language against political opponents.

“BJP and Prime Minister 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 Prime Minister. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said,” Gandhi tweeted.

PM Modi slams Aiyar on ‘neech’ remark

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing rallies in Gujarat, attacked Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for calling him a “neech jaati” (low caste) man and said by this he has insulted all the Gujaratis who will give a befitting reply to the Congress by voting for the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections.

PM Modi slammed Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Twitter, saying that the remarks reflect”Congress mindset” and “People will answer them through the ballot box”.

“They can call me ‘neech jaati’. Yes, I am from the poor section of society and will spend every moment of my life to work for the poor, Dalits, tribals and backward classes. That is my culture. They can keep their language, we will do our work,” Modi told an election rally in Gujarat.