A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Rahul Gandhi's constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh to launch a manufacturing unit for AK-203 rifles and targeted him at a rally there, the Congress president posted a tweet accused him of "lying by force of habit".
"I laid the foundation stone of the ordnance factory in Amethi in 2010. For many years it has produced small arms. Yesterday you went to Amethi and as is your habit, you lied again. Have you no shame," the Congress president tweeted in Hindi this morning.
Shortly afterwards came a retort from Union Minister Smriti Irani, who has been a frequent visitor to Amethi since she contested the 2014 election from the constituency against Rahul Gandhi and lost, but by a lesser margin than the Congress expected. "You are so afraid of development in Amethi that you didn't bother to see that yesterday a joint venture was launched at Korva. This is a joint venture between India and Russia to produce AK 203 rifles," tweeted the Union Minister.
PM Modi yesterday travelled to Amethi for the first time since he came to power in 2014, and addressed a political rally in the constituency that has voted the Gandhi family for decades and has elected Rahul Gandhi since 2004. Smriti Irani, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were also at the event.
The Prime Minister called Amethi the best example of his government's motto "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (development for all)" and said the town would have a "new identity" and would be known by the AK-203 Kalashnikov rifles that would be made there.
"The AK-203 rifles will be manufactured in Amethi under Russia-India joint venture...these rifles will be known as ''made in Amethi'' and will help our jawans in encounters with naxals and terrorists," said PM Modi at the event where Nirmala Sitharaman also read out a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Targeting Rahul Gandhi repeatedly without naming him, the Prime Minister told the gathering: "Some people go around giving speeches of 'made in Ujjain', 'made in Jaipur', 'made in Jaisalmer'...this is Modi. Now 'Made in Amethi' will be AK-203 rifles. It will help our jawans."
Referring to the groundbreaking ceremony of the weapons factory by Rahul Gandhi, he accused the Congress chief of reneging on his promise of jobs. "When the foundation was laid by your MP, it was said that work will start in 2010. It was his government but it did not happen. Why believe such a person? For three years, it was not decided what kind of weapons will be made here and land was also not made available," PM Modi said.