With its leader Mani Shankar Aiyar coming under attack for his "neech aadmi" remark against Narendra Modi, the Congress today said that Rahul Gandhi had asked party leaders not to use uncouth language when referring to the prime minister.
"(Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi has criticised the language used by Aiyar...We have once again issued an advisory saying that however uncouth language the party in power uses against us, and however Modi-ji may insult (former prime minister Jawaharlal) Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, we will not use such language against the prime minister," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said here.
"We are followers of Mahatma Gandhi and he always adopted non-violence as a way to counter the violence inflicted through words or physical violence. Rahul Gandhi has said no Congress member should lose decency and balance in the use of words," Surjewala said at a press conference.
"Rahul Gandhi has criticised all those who use unreasonable language against the prime minister...we will reply to violence with dignity and love," he said.
Aiyar today called Modi a "neech aadmi" (a vile man), who did "dirty politics", kicking up a row on the last day of campaigning for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls.
"He (Modi) is 'neech kism ka aadmi' (a vile man) who has no 'sabhyata' (civility)," Aiyar said, attacking Modi after the latter accused the Congress of seeking votes in B R Ambedkar's name but trying to erase his contribution to nation building.
Modi, at a campaign rally in Surat, termed Aiyar's words as insult to Gujarat.
The Congress tonight suspended Aiyar from the primary membership of the party and issued him a show-cause notice.
Attacking the prime minister over his remarks during the inauguration of the Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi this morning, Surjewala said that under the BJP-led government at the Centre, atrocities on Dalits have risen sharply.
"Cases of atrocities on Dalits are being registered at the rate of 41,000 per year, or (a case of atrocity on) one Dalit every eight minutes, as per the National Crime records Bureau, but the prime minister remains silent," the Congress spokesperson said.
"In 2013, the UPA government had given 92,928 jobs to Dalits, which came down to 8,400 in 2015. Today, there is 31 per cent backlog in vacancies in jobs reserved for Dalits in the Central government," he said.
"Congress government had launched a pre-matric Scheduled Caste scholarship, allocating Rs 882 crore for it in 2013-14. Modi reduced the budget to Rs 50 crore in 2017-18," Surjewala claimed.
"Budget for rehabilitation of manual scavengers went down from Rs 439 crore to Rs 5 crore," he said.
The prime minister should not use Ambedkar's name to badmouth Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi or the Congress, he said.