- Arun Jaitley targets Rahul Gandhi in new blog post
- Refutes allegations that Modi government helps fugitive tycoons
- Congress termed his defence "hollow rants of a court jester"
The battle of monikers between Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the Congress intensified on Tuesday, with the former saying that Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a "clown prince out-clowning himself". The Congress retorted by terming the minister a "babble blogger" and punning on his name by calling him "Jet-lie".
It began with Mr Jaitley posting a blog on his Facebook page to counter the allegations made by Mr Gandhi in his election rallies in Madhya Pradesh that the finance minister had met bank defaulters Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya in parliament.
"I do not recollect ever having even seen Nirav Modi in my life. The question of his meeting me in parliament does not arise. If he came to parliament, as Rahul Gandhi claims, then reception records would show that," Mr Jaitley wrote in his blog.
Mr Jaitley admitted to meeting Vijay Mallya but claimed that the latter "chased him in parliament".
"As a member of parliament, Vijay Mallya once chased me in the corridor of parliament to discuss his case. I did not pay any heed to him and coldly told him to make his proposal to the bankers. This he (Rahul Gandhi) says constitutes a meeting where he (Mallya) told me that he was escaping to London. Absolute lie," Mr Jaitley wrote.
The finance minister ended his blog by continuing to call Rahul Gandhi "clown prince", a term that Mr Jaitley himself coined.
"Is it a personality issue where he lies a dozen times and then in self-delusion believes it to be true or is it a case of a 'Clown Prince' out-clowning himself?" he said.
To take another dig at the Congress president, Mr Jaitley recounted an advice that he claims veteran lawyers give to younger ones.
"They were told 'if you are strong on facts, bang the facts. If you are strong on law, bang the law. If you are weak on both, then bang the desk.' Those who advise Rahul Gandhi appear to have persuaded him that he is cut out only for the third option," Mr Jaitley wrote.
Congress deputed its spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, himself a lawyer like Mr Jaitley, to respond to the finance minister.
Terming Mr Jaitley's blog as "hollow rants of a court jester", Mr Surjewala tweeted, "Mr 'Jait-Lie' won't change the truth that you bang the truth to hide ineptitude, U bang the ₹ by ur mismanagement, U bang exports by ur incompetence, U bang the Economy by ur incomprehension! India needs a FM, Not a 'Babble Blogger'(sic)".
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.