PM Modi's Rajiv Gandhi Attack Draws United Opposition Rebuke

Akhilesh Yadav said those "martyred" must be respected.

PM Modi's Rajiv Gandhi Attack Draws United Opposition Rebuke

PM Modi's comment on Rajiv Gandhi was very unfortunate, Mamata Banerjee said (File)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial remark that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi died as "corrupt number 1", has prompted sharp reactions from the opposition. The attack on PM Modi was led by one of his harshest critics, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who condemned him for the comment. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav soon joined her as he said the remark showed the level "people" can stoop to cling on to power.

"Sorry for my delayed response on this. I was campaigning. The comments made by 'Expiry PM' ModiJi against former PM Rajiv GandhiJi are very unfortunate. RajivJi dedicated himself and laid down his life for the motherland. I condemn the language used and the audacity of such a statement," Ms Banerjee tweeted.

Akhilesh Yadav said those "martyred" must be respected.

"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," he tweeted.

"Rajiv Gandhi lost his life serving our country. He was a true patriot who certainly doesn't need a certificate from those who lynch in the name of religion. Malicious attempts to malign a person who's passed away shows political discourse has reached its nadir," former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a blistering attack on Congress President Rahul Gandhi as he said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh that the life of his father ended as "corrupt number 1". 

"Your father was termed 'Mr Clean' by his courtiers, but his life ended as ''Bhrashtachari No 1'' (corrupt number 1)," PM Modi had said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh.

PM Modi was apparently referring to the Bofors case that devastated the Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s and ruined the party's prospects of returning to power for years. The scandal swirled around allegations that Swedish defence manufacturer Bofors paid huge kickbacks to Rajiv Gandhi and others for the sale of its artillery gun to India. The High Court said there was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi had accepted bribes.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's response today to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks " was a hug, and a warning on "karma".

"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," read the tweet.

Leading the BJP's onslaught was Arun Jaitley, who invoked Indira Gandhi. Mr Gandhi's grandmother Indira Gandhi, he said in a tweet, "was also assassinated and yet Congress is questioned about Emergency and Operation Blue Star".

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also defended PM Modi's comment.

"When the Gandhi family is nostalgic about Rajiv Gandhi today, do they also think about the poor, whose hard earned money went into the coffers of the Gandhi family? What do you call a man who exploited defence deals like Bofors to enrich his family? Rahul Gandhi, the truth is bitter," she wrote on Twitter.