- PM Modi had called former PM Rajiv Gandhi "Corrupt Number 1"
- The Congress was outraged over the remark
- Fight the Delhi polls for the honour of former PM, he said today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been shredded by the opposition for his remarks on Rajiv Gandhi, today amplified his argument, challenging the Congress to "fight polls in the name of the Bofors-accused former PM". The controversy over the Prime Minister's comment -- that Rajiv Gandhi "ended his life as bhrashtachari (corrupt) number one" -- snowballed yesterday, as various opposition leaders tweeted in protest and Union minister Arun Jaitley defended the Prime Minister.
Speaking at a rally in Jharkhand today, PM Modi challenged the Congress, reminding them that there are two more rounds of elections to go, which also includes the polls for the national capital, Delhi. "I challenge Congress party, the family of dynasts, their courtiers, their minions... If you have the guts, fight the Delhi polls for the honour of that former PM of the Congress, who had serious allegations against him and for whom you have been shedding tears for the last two days," he said.
The Prime Minister's comment on Rajiv Gandhi was a retaliation to the Congress's unceasing attack on the Rafale jet fighter deal -- in which the party has accused him of corruption and crony capitalism - and its "Chowkidar chor hai" slogan. "Your father was termed 'Mr Clean' by his courtiers, but his life ended as 'Bhrashtachari No 1' (corrupt number 1)," PM Modi had said, referring to Rajiv Gandhi, who got a clean chit from the Delhi High Court in the Bofors case 13 years after he was assassinated by terrorists.
Yesterday, Rahul Gandhi responded with 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," tweeted the Congress chief, who made headlines last year by hugging the Prime Minister in parliament.
Union minister Arun Jaitley had shot back a series of tweets, questioning why Rahul Gandhi got so disturbed "if integrity issues of the Rajiv Gandhi Government are raised". For opposition leaders who questioned the Prime Minister's sense of decency in "speaking ill of the dead," he argued, "Indira Gandhi was also assassinated and yet Congress is questioned about Emergency and Operation Blue Star."
Hitting at the Congress over its complain to the Election Commission, Union minister Arun Jaitley tweeted: "The Congress and its' President can call an honest Prime Minister 'Chor'. No Model Code of Conduct is preventing that. If the PM calls the Congress legacy as 'Corrupt No. 1' the Congress complains that the Model Code of Conduct is violated. Are there two Model Codes of Conduct?"