Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cited terror outfit Indian Mujahideen and the banned Popular Front of India to launch a scathing attack on Opposition front India, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit back with a sharp retort.
Taking to Twitter, Mr Gandhi said the Opposition front will "help heal Manipur" and "rebuild the idea of India" in the northeastern state.
"Call us whatever you want, Mr. Modi. We are INDIA. We will help heal Manipur and wipe the tears of every woman and child. We will bring back love and peace for all her people. We will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur," he tweeted.
Earlier, Prime Minister Modi said at the BJP's parliamentary party meeting that he had never seen such a "directionless opposition". "They keep praising themselves for the name INDIA. Indian National Congress. East India company. Indian Mujahideen. Popular Front of India - these are also INDIA. Just using the name INDIA does not mean anything," BJP veteran Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The Prime Minister's remark and Mr Gandhi's counter came amid an impasse in Parliament over the unrest in Manipur, which has returned to spotlight after a horrifying video of two tribal women paraded naked shocked the country's imagination.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament began Thursday and the Opposition started pressing for a detailed discussion on Manipur. The centre said it is ready for a discussion but the logjam continued as the Opposition insisted in Rajya Sabha that all business be suspended for the Manipur discussion. The Opposition also demanded that the Prime Minister address Parliament over the issue.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said he is ready to put forward the government's position, but the Opposition did not budge from its demand of a statement by the Prime Minister.
This time, the government faces in Parliament a united Opposition front that is coordinating floor plans. The Opposition front India, which aims to take on the ruling BJP in the 2024 general election, has also questioned why the Prime Minister spoke on the Manipur issue to the media but is not addressing the House.
Mr Gandhi is not attending the Monsoon Session as he stands disqualified as an MP following his conviction in a criminal defamation case.
Following the conviction in a Gujarat court, he had approached the High Court, but did not receive any relief. He has now approached the Supreme Court in this matter.