Rajiv Gandhi death anniversary: Narendra Modi tweets 'tributes to former PM' days after calling him 'bhrashtachari no. 1'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday took to Twitter to pay tribute to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 28th death anniversary.

"Tributes to former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary," Modi tweeted. Rajiv was assassinated by a suicide bomber during an election rally in Tamil Nadu's Sriperumbudur town on this day in 1991. Several leaders, including former prime minister's family, tweeted their tributes on the former prime minister's death anniversary.

Modi's tweet remembering the former prime minister comes days after he dubbed Rajiv as "bhrashtachari no 1" (corrupt no 1) at an election rally in eastern Uttar Pradesh earlier this month. At a rally in Pratapgarh, responding to Congress' corruption charges against him, Modi said, "Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No. 1."

He was referring to the Bofors scandal that broke during Rajiv's tenure as the prime minister. There were allegations that Swedish defence manufacturer Bofors had paid huge kickbacks to Rajiv and others for the sale of its artillery gun to India.

Taking to Twitter, Congress president and Rajiv Gandhi's son Rahul Gandhi said:

Rajiv's daughter Priyanka, who is also Congress in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh also tweeted, "The one who asks for votes in the name of martyrs has now insulted the martyrdom of a righteous and holy man in his unbridled craze yesterday. Reply will be given by the people of Amethi for whom Rajiv Gandhi gave his life. Yes Modiji this country never forgives treachery."

The war of words between Modi and Rahul came a day before voting for fifth phase of Lok Sabha election, with Rahul's own constituency, Amethi, going to polls as well.

In a bitterly fought election campaign, Modi's attacks on the late prime minister did not stop there. After the "corrupt no 1" remark, the prime minister in another rally, slammed his former counterpart for using naval warship INS Viraat as his "personal taxi" for a holiday when he was at the helm. Modi went on to ask Congress why it fumed when he exposed the "misdeeds" of its leaders in whose name it often sought votes.

Modi was addressing his first poll rally in Delhi ahead of the 12 May elections for all its seven seats. "Ever imagined that a premier warship of the Indian armed forces could be used as a taxi for a personal holiday? One dynasty did it," Modi said.

The claims made by the prime minister snowballed into a huge controversy and witnessed Navy veterans giving contradicting statements on the incident which happened in 1987. Modi's claim was challenged by former navy chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas and the officer who captained the vessel, Vice-Admiral Vinod Pasricha, both of whom asserted that Rajiv Gandhi was aboard INS Viraat in an official capacity.

Pasricha told Firstpost in an interview that the contention that Rajiv and his family misused the ship was "completely false." Following their comments, two other officers issued statements to the contrary. However, there were navy officials who backed the prime minister's claim.

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: May 21, 2019 12:00:11 IST