Union Minister Smriti Irani sneered at Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi today saying they are "not used to working in the sun to earn money," unlike Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who, she said, had worked hard to earn a living.
She was reacting to the Congress leaders' comments criticising Ms Swaraj's statement in Parliament on the Lalit Modi controversy. They branded the Foreign Minister as "an expert in theatrics" whose family received money from tainted cricket tycoon Lalit Modi to "stay out of jail".
Smriti Irani, describing Sushma Swaraj as a "woman who works hard and whose daughter has worked hard to earn", said: "The Gandhi family is an exception. They don't toil in the sun to earn their bread. I condemn this kind of allegation. The Congress is running away from discussion as they have no proof. What do they know about khoon pasiney ki kamai (hard-earned money)? It is easier to give a 1.5 minute bite than a 1.5 hour speech."
On Sonia Gandhi describing Ms Swaraj's defense in Parliament on Thursday as "theatrics," Ms Irani said: "Is Parliament a theatre?"
Mrs Swaraj's resignation is being sought by the Congress in the scandal that has come to be known as "Lalitgate" - last year, the UK government granted travel documents to Lalit Modi after she said the decision would not dent relations with India.
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice president, said that the minister "maintained complete secrecy" about this conversation, an indication, he said, of wrong doing. "Sushmaji's family has received money from Mr Lalit Modi... she should tell the country exactly how much money has Lalit Modi paid her family to keep him out of jail," he said.
Ms Swaraj said in Parliament yesterday that any assistance she provided for Lalit Modi's travel was "on humanitarian grounds" for his wife, a cancer patient, wanted her husband to accompany her to Portugal.
Lalit Modi, the founder of the IPL or Indian Premier League, is wanted in India in connection with charges of financial irregularities.
The Congress has also alleged conflict of interest as Sushma Swaraj's daughter, a lawyer, represented Lalit Modi for several years.