Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday challenged the Congress to fight the remaining phases of the Lok Sabha elections on the issue of self-respect of the 'Bofors accused' prime minister's name, in an apparent reference to Rajiv Gandhi. "I challenge the Congress party, its president, his family and associates to fight the remaining two phases of the elections on the issue of respect of the former prime minister who faced serious charges of corruption," Modi said at a rally.
"If you have guts, let's fight the elections in Bhopal where thousands of people died due to a gas leakage. What the then prime minister did then will come in front of everyone," he said. "We will fight on the issues raised by you. Everything will come to the fore. How was he as a prime minister? What did he for the country?"
"I have the courage to put this challenge in front of you. Now let's see whether Congress and mahamilavati people accept this chowkidar's challenge," Modi said, adding that he had just "recalled the old misdeeds of a member of the naamdar (dynast) family." "They (Congress) have been abusing the prime minister of the country for last one year. I just make people remember about corruption in the Bofors deal. It created a storm. Some people felt a very intense ache in their stomach. The more these people will cry, the more this generation will become aware of how a family looted and destroyed the country," Modi said.
He also accused the Congress of patronising corrupt leaders in the Opposition. Last week, the prime minister, while addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh, had said, "Your father (Rajiv) was termed 'Mr Clean' by his courtiers, but his life ended as 'bhrashtachari No 1.' A day after Modi's remark, Congress president Rahul Gandhi hit back at the prime minister saying, "Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won't protect you."
"Modi ji, the battle is over. Your Karma awaits you. Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won't protect you. All my love and a huge hug," Rahul had tweeted on Sunday. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress general secretary, attacked Modi, saying he had insulted Rajiv.
"The prime minister, who seeks votes in the name of martyrs, due to his unbridled obsession has disrespected the supreme sacrifice of a good and noble human being. The people of Amethi, for whom Rajiv Gandhi gave their life, will give a reply. But yes, Modi ji, this country never forgives those who deceive," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
On Sunday, Arun Jaitley had said, "Why is Rahul so disturbed if the integrity issues of the Rajiv Gandhi government are raised? Why did Ottavio Quattrocchi get kickbacks in Bofors? Who was the ‘Q' connection? No reply has come." He said that former prime minister Indira Gandhi was also assassinated and yet the Congress is questioned about the Emergency and the Operation Blue Star.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: May 06, 2019 22:23:56 IST