- PM had said Rajiv Gandhi's life ended as "corrupt number 1"
- PM's tweet was condemned by opposition leaders such as Mamata Banejee
- "Karma awaits... a huge hug": Rahul Gandhi tweeted PM Modi
Union minister Arun Jaitley defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comment about former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi "ending his life as bhrashtachari (corrupt) number one". PM Modi's tweet has been condemned by a number of opposition leaders, including Mamata Banejee, Arvind Kejriwal and Sharad Yadav. On Sunday morning, Rahul Gandhi responded with a hug and warning on karma.
"Why is Rahul Gandhi so disturbed if 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," Arun Jaitley said in one of a series of tweets.
The Congress chief, who made headlines last year by hugging the Prime Minister on the floor of parliament, on Sunday, tweeted, "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".
Mr Gandhi's grandmother Indira Gandhi, he said in yet another tweet, "was also assassinated and yet Congress is questioned about Emergency and Operation Blue Star".
Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
The Dynast can attack the integrity of India's Prime Minister - a man of utmost honesty. Does he believe that the dynasty does not have to answer any questions?— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) 5 May 2019
Mr Jaitley's reaction was followed by a deluge of tweets from several opposition leaders, who criticised the Prime Minister.
"Whatever political disagreements people may have, those who are martyred deserve our respect and their families deserves our empathy. Election or not, this is basic humanity. The statement by the PM indicates levels to which people can stoop for the sake of clinging on to power," Samajwadi leader Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.
Sorry for my delayed response on this. I was campaigning. The comments made by 'Expiry PM' ModiJi against fmr PM Rajiv GandhiJi are very unfortunate. RajivJi dedicated himself & laid down his life for the motherland. I condemn the language used & the audacity of such a statement— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) 5 May 2019
PM @narendramodi's comments against former PM #RajivGandhi are not only despicable and highly condemnable, but also reflect the PM's state of mind. Fear and frustration have taken over his judgement.#ShameOnPMModi@INCIndia@INCKarnatakahttps://t.co/q5UWaoAHkU— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) 5 May 2019
The BJP -- under relentless Congress attack over the reworked Rafale deal with France -- has repeatedly retaliated with questions on the Bofors case, which dominated the headlines in the '80s and the '90s.
Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by terrorists in 1991, had got a clean chit from the court in the Bofors case. In its judgment in 2004, the Delhi High Court said there was no evidence that he accepted bribes and eventually dismissed all charges against the accused persons in the politically sensitive case.
Earlier on Sunday, in a series of tweets Union Minister P Chidambaram reminded the Prime Minister of the case stands.
In one of his tweets, he said. "Does Mr Modi know that a BJP government decided not to file an appeal to the SC against the HC judgment?"
Last year, when the Central Bureau of Investigation apealed to re-open the case, the Supreme Court refused to allow it, saying it was 12 years too late. The court, however, said The top court, however, said an appeal against high court verdict is pending and the CBI can raise all grounds in it.