The Congress on Sunday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his attack on Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in the UK, asking since when did the criticism of the PM's policies become the criticism of the country.
The opposition party also alleged that it is the Prime Minister "who attacks democracy" and that is why discussions are held on it.
In an apparent reference to Mr Gandhi's remarks made in London, PM Modi, while speaking in poll-bound Karnataka, termed it an insult to 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara, the people of Karnataka, India's great traditions and its citizens.
"Statue of Lord Basaveshwara is in London, but it is unfortunate that in the same London questions were raised on India's democracy. The roots of India's democracy have been nurtured by centuries of our history. No power in this world can harm India's democratic traditions. Despite this some are constantly making it stand in the dock," PM Modi said in an obvious swipe at Mr Gandhi.
Reacting to the Prime Minister's remarks, Congress media and publicity department head Pawan Khera said the Prime Minister "wasted" nine years in "abusing" the elders and ancestors of this country.
"You (PM) insult three generations when you say nothing happened in the last 70 years, then you do not bother about the image of the country. You pat yourself on the back in Parliament saying 'ek akela sab par bhari', the world sees it and also laughs at it," Mr Khera said in a video statement in Hindi posted on his Twitter account.
"When you show red eyes to the media in the country and raid foreign media, then you do not bother about the image of the country," Mr Khera asked.
Mr Khera claimed that the Prime Minister in his remarks abroad said that people considered it unfortunate to be born in India, and asked if he was not worried of what he was doing to the country's image.
"Mr Prime Minister, you attack democracy and that is why discussions are held on it. If challenges to democracy are being discussed in front of Cambridge University students then that is an effort to strengthen democracy," the Congress leader said.
"You have some misgivings about yourself. You are just the PM, you are not God, you are not the creator, you don't make the sun rise...do away with these misgivings about yourself," he said.
Later in a tweet in Hindi, Mr Khera said, "Since when did the criticism of your policies become the criticism of the country? You are just a prime minister, you are neither the country, nor God nor the creator."
आपकी नीतियों की निंदा कब से देश की निंदा हो गई?— Pawan Khera 🇮🇳 (@Pawankhera) March 12, 2023
आप सिर्फ़ एक प्रधानमंत्री हैं, ना आप देश हैं, ना भगवान हैं और ना ही सृष्टिकर्ता हैं। https://t.co/QeUOeuOq82
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate also hit back at PM Modi, saying he must speak like the Prime Minister.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)