Mumbai: As Narendra Modi's mother Hiraben went to a bank on Tuesday to exchange banned Rs 500 notes, Rahul Gandhi took a dig at the Prime Minister, saying he would "not comment on his mother".
- Rahul was referring to PM Modi's mother Hiraben's visiting a bank.
- Mr Gandhi was in Mumbai to appear in court
- Last week Mr Gandhi stood in queue and exchanged Rs. 4,500 at a bank
"I'm not like Modi, I won't comment on his mother," Mr Gandhi told reporters in Mumbai, where he would appear in court regarding a case on Wednesday.
The images of 95-year-old Hiraben's visit to the bank in a wheelchair in Gujarat's Gandhinagar were seen to reinforce the Prime Minister's appeal to citizens forced to stand in long queues at banks and ATMs. Aided by relatives, she had waited her turn and swapped Rs. 4,500 in denominations of Rs. 500. As she stepped out, she had been mobbed by reporters.
Last week, as Mr Gandhi, had stood in queue and exchanged Rs 4,500 at a bank, PM Modi had taken a swipe at him, saying, "those involved in big scams, like 2G and coal scam, now have to stand in queues to exchange Rs 4,000".
Tuesday, on the eve of parliament's winter session, Mr Gandhi said, "If you go and look at the massive lines, do you see any big player standing in queue? I see small traders, the poor... are these people thieves?"
Mr Gandhi's party, the Congress, however, had not spared the Prime Minister. "I am very sad. No good son ever wants that his 97-year-old mother has to (face such a situation) and they boast of a 56-inch chest," party spokesman Kapil Sibal told reporters.
Speaking separately, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "If a son cannot look after his own mother, how can one expects him to look after the people of the country?"
Big players like Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi have been left "scot free" by the government, Mr Gandhi said. The Congress, he said, was all for taking on corruption and black money, but why should the common man suffer? It was the job of the government, he said, to reduce people's pain.
Battlelines have already been drawn for parliament's winter session, which starts tomorrow. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has planned a march to petition the President for a rollback. She would be joined by BJP ally Shiv Sena.
The Congress and the rest of the opposition parties have planned to raise the issue in Parliament first before escalating the matter to the President.