New Delhi: Referring to the 2017 ‘Neech Aadmi’ jibe Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar agreed that he had made a statement against Prime Minister Modi, but he refused to be drawn into a discussion on the merit of his statement. He said, “There is a whole article, picking out one line from it and saying “now talk on this”. I’m not ready to be involved in your games, I am stupid, but not that stupid (main ullu hoon, lekin itna bada ullu nahi hoon).” Also Read - G7 Summit 2021: Leaders Pledge to Deliver on Vaccines, Climate; Call Out China on Right Abuses | 10 Points

Aiyar then claimed, “I have been a victim of the media and it has caused me significant damage.” Earlier, he said that he stands by his ‘neech aadmi’ jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and termed his December 2017 remark about the PM as “prophetic”. Also Read - Modi Cabinet Expansion Buzz: Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushil Modi to Get Ministerial Berth in Next Reshuffle? Take a Look at Likely Contenders

Aiyar reportedly said over the phone, “I said what I wanted to say in that article, I stand by every word. I have no desire to engage in any argument.” The senior Congress leader was suspended from the party two years ago for his controversial remark on an article. Also Read - ‘One Earth, One Health’: PM Modi Calls For Global Unity To Prevent Future Pandemics At G7 Summit

Referring to the slur made on December 7, 2017, Aiyar reportedly said,  “That would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see. Remember how I described him on December 7, 2017? Was I not prophetic?”

Meanwhile, Aiyar slammed Prime Minister Modi for making “stunningly illiterate claims” on the Balakot air strikes. PM Modi has faced flak for his comment, “clouds would help Indian jets escape Pakistani radars.”

A report quoted Mani Shankar Aiyar as saying, “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.”

Reacting to the comment, BJP’s Sambit Patra’s tweeted on Tuesday, “So finally …the “Jewel(मणि)” of the Gandhi family too has contributed to the “Politics of Love” of Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha Elections 2019 by defining His “Neech comment” on Modi ji as prophetic …”

Notably, many believe that Aiyar’s ‘chaiwala’ barb at PM Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls helped the then BJP prime ministerial candidate a great deal as he often referred to it in his campaign to highlight his humble background and attack the Congress.

He had then claimed that Modi can never become prime minister but could sell tea at a Congress conclave, which was then underway.

In 1998, Aiyar, an articulate English speaker and writer and one who described himself as a ‘freelance Congressman’ had called the then prime minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee ‘nalayak’ (a pejorative Hindi word loosely translated as incompetent). The backlash followed by his comment forced him to apologise.

(With agency inputs)