- Sonia Gandhi had said Indian democracy is at a "crossroads"
- PM said this dynasty of corruption makes the country hollow
- He said that entire "generations of corruption" had acted with impunity
A day after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said Indian democracy is at a "crossroads" and that the "pillars of a democratic system are under assault", Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a not-so-subtle swipe at the opposition party, hitting out at a "dynasty of corruption (that passed) from generation to generation... became part of political tradition... makes the country hollow".
Addressing the National Conference on Vigilance and Anti-Corruption via video-link, the Prime Minister said that entire "generations of corruption" had acted with impunity and gone unpunished but, under his government, "citizens' trust in the government has increased".
"In past decades, we've seen that when a generation of corruption is not punished, others commit corruption with more power. Due to this, in many states, it became part of political tradition. This dynasty of corruption from generation to generation makes the country hollow," PM Modi said.
"Today, citizens' trust in the government has increased. Old laws have been abolished to reduce undue pressure of the government. Efforts are being made to make citizens' life easier," he added.
On Friday, in a column for the Hindustan Times, Mrs Gandhi wrote: "The world's largest democracy is at the crossroads. That the economy is in deep crisis is clear. But what is less appreciated is that all the pillars of a democratic system of governance are under assault."
She hit out at the Narendra Modi government for stifling dissent (and branding it as "anti-national" and "terrorism") and using central investigative agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate to "target political opposition".
Mrs Gandhi earlier also accused the ruling JDU-BJP in Bihar - where Assembly elections start Wednesday - of being "drunk on power and arrogance" and said a "serious crisis" had impacted the lives of farmers and Dalits and other marginalised members of society.
The interim Congress chief urged the people of the state - where her party has allied with Tejashwi Yadav's RJD and Left groups - to vote for a "new Bihar".
The BJP and the Congress routinely trade accusations of corruption, with the latter party quick to attack at any mention of the Rafale fighter jet deal and over charges that the government frames policies that benefit certain industrial and business groups.
PM Modi and other BJP leaders, meanwhile, often allege rampant corruption and political instability were the hallmarks of the Congress-led UPA governments.
Bihar votes for a new 243-member Assembly over three phases starting Wednesday, with results due on November 10. The first phase of voting will see 71 seats being contested.