New Delhi: Soon after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi lashed out at party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for calling the Prime Minister ‘neech’, the veteran leader came out with a clarification.

In his defence, Aiyar said “I meant low level when I said ‘neech’, I think in English when I speak in Hindi as Hindi is not my mother tongue. So if it has some other meaning then I apologise.”

He also claimed that he never called Narendra Modi a ‘chaiwallah’ during the 2014 elections. “You can go on the internet and check all the videos,” he challenged.

His clarification comes just after Rahul asked Aiyar to apologise for his remarks. “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack Congress party. Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said,” the Gandhi scion said on Thursday.

Responding to Aiyar’s remark, Modi said that Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in a democracy. Addressing an election rally in Gujarat, Modi said: “Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in a democracy. One Congress leader, who has studied in best institutions, served as a diplomat, was a Minister in Cabinet, he said Modi is ‘neech.’ This is insulting. This is nothing but a mindset that of the Mughals.”

The attack and counter-attack between the two leaders has brought back memories of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when Aiyar took on Modi by calling him a ‘chaiwallah’.

“If he (Modi) wants, he can come and sell tea here at the All India Congress Committee meet,” Aiyar had said in 2014.

Modi had latched on to the opportunity. Many believe that it was the ‘chaiwallah’ barb on him that gave him a headway in the election and helped him win by a massive majority.