The Congress on Monday seized on union minister Nitin Gadkari's comments that politicians failing to fulfil dreams they sell to people are beaten up by the public to claim that those were aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as the BJP said that its senior leader was only exposing the opposition party.
Speaking at a function in Mumbai on Sunday, Mr Gadkari said politicians who sold dreams to people but failed to make them a reality got "beaten up" by the public. He also asserted that he was a doer and delivered on his promises.
Opposition parties claimed that his remarks were aimed at PM Modi, who was accused by them of making lofty promises to come to power but failing to realise them.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari cited a Hindi proverb -- "kahin pe nigahein, kahin pe nishana" (looking at something, aiming at something else) -- to claim that Mr Gadkari's eyes were on the prime minister's chair and his target was PM Modi.
"I do not think this should surprise anyone. If you see this statement in the context of his (Gadkari's) earlier remarks, in which he had said ''we did not expect to come to power, so we made the promises that came to mind''.... so, if you see these two statements in the proper context, it will be clear who it was aimed at," Mr Tewari told reporters.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, dismissed such suggestions and said Mr Gadkari, a former party president, was targeting the Congress and "exposing" how the opposition party had damaged the country.
Speaking to reporters, union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said, "Gadkari was exposing how the Congress has damaged the country and was citing examples of how the country is progressing under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi...He delivers impactful speeches to expose the Congress".
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said Mr Gadkari's words reflected the voices within the BJP against the "failure" of the prime minister.
Mr Gadkari's recent remarks have often ignited political speculation with rival parties interpreting those as a dig at the BJP leadership.
In December last year, Mr Gadkari had said at an event in Pune that leadership should have the tendency to own up defeats and failures.