Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, hitting out today at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments against her father Rajiv Gandhi, said "the same kind of arrogance caused the downfall of Duryodhan". Likening the Prime Minister to the main villain of the epic Mahabharata, the Congress leader also warned that the country has never forgiven arrogance.
Besides Priyanka Gandhi and her brother Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, several opposition leaders have condemned PM Modi's comment that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's life had ended as "Bhrastachari (corrupt) Number 1".
"They insult my family when they don't get any other issue. This country has never forgiven arrogance. History is proof of this. Mahabharat is also proof of this. This kind of arrogance was in Duryodhan too. When Lord Krishna went to him and put the reality in front of him and tried to talk to him, he tried to capture Lord Krishna too," Priyanka Gandhi said at a rally in Haryana's Ambala to campaign for the national election.
She also recited lines from 'Krishna Ki Chetawani' (The Warning of Krishna), a poem by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, which says that wisdom is the first casualty before someone's downfall.
She said if the prime minister had the "courage", he should fight the Lok Sabha election on development, jobs, farmers and women's safety. Yesterday, PM Modi had dared the Congress to fight the election on Rajiv Gandhi's image.
The reaction from the BJP was quick. Its president Amit Shah said in Bengal's Bishnupur: "Priyanka just called PM Modi Duryodhan'. Priyanka ji, this is democracy, nobody becomes 'Duryodhana' just because you called them so. The country will decide on May 23 who is Duryodhan and who is Arjun."
Earlier today, BJP leader Ram Madhav shrugged off criticism of PM Modi's remarks, saying: "What's the need to be emotional?"
Last month, CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had compared PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to Duryodhan and his brother Dushasan, the oldest of the 100 Kaurav brothers who incited the battle of the Mahabharata to snatch power from their righteous cousins, the five Pandavas.