- Rahul Gandhi likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Adolf Hitler
- Smriti Irani refers him to Emergency during Indira Gandhi rule
- Thank you... for all that you do. Sincerely from the BJP: Smriti Irani
Ms Irani, 41 - appointed information and broadcasting minister last week in addition to her textiles portfolio - told the Congress leader that he was 42 years late.
"... No prizes for guessing who was inspired by Hitler, imposed the emergency & trampled over democracy," she said, referring to imposition of Emergency in July 1975 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, also Rahul's grandmother.
@OfficeOfRG u r 42 yrs late on this 1.No prizes for guessing who was inspired by Hitler, imposed the emergency & trampled over democracy.- Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) July 21, 2017
Mr Gandhi, 47, had attacked PM Modi and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at Centre for "mutilating" the Constitution through "systematic capture" of democratic institutions.
@OfficeOfRG a bleak future awaits the Congress Party, not our Nation!- Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) July 21, 2017
He also alleged that PM Modi was like a dictator. "There was a man called Hitler and he once wrote--keep a very firm grasp on reality so you can strangle it at any time. Today this is what is happening all around us. This strangulation of reality," he said at a Bengaluru event.
Mr Gandhi later tweeted some of the points from his speech..
BJP wants to paint a lie over India so that they can return it to an age of kings and no questions, where people were humiliated by power- Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 21, 2017
Where people's voices were crushed, where the poor and weak were trampled upon. Where millions of Indians were untouchables- Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) July 21, 2017
Ms Irani delivered the comeback soon after, tagging Mr Gandhi's twitter handle in each of them. She suggested the bleak future that Mr Gandhi had painted in his speech at Friday's event was probably true for the Congress, not the country.
Mocking Mr Gandhi who is expected to take over the reins of the party from Sonia Gandhi in a few months, she tweeted: "However, thank you... for all that you do. Sincerely from the BJP
However, thank you @officeofRG for all that you do. Sincerely from the BJP!- Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) July 21, 2017
She did not elaborate but the last tweet alluded to numerous taunts from BJP leaders in the past questioning Rahul Gandhi's ability to lead his party.
At a rally in January, PM Modi too had derided the Congress leader. "If you check on Google, no other politician has so many jokes on him as the Congress neta... The way he talks...his antics are such that even senior Congress leaders stay 10 feet away from him," PM Modi had said in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnore.
Ms Irani too rarely misses a chance to duel with Mr Gandhi since she challenged him in his constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in 2014. She lost the election in the Congress No. 2 home-turf but made the Congress sweat for the win. Mr Gandhi won with a 46 per cent vote share, down from 71 per cent in the 2009 election.