A combative Rahul Gandhi tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day after the top opposition leader was disqualified from parliament.
Mr Gandhi claimed the Prime Minister is scared of his next speech and used a Veer Savarkar reference to answer why he didn't apologise over his remarks in London and during the defamation trial in which he was convicted.
The BJP, meanwhile, doubled down on its attack on Mr Gandhi, claiming the Congress was trying to project him as a victim for electoral gains.
"I have been disqualified as the Prime Minister is scared of my next speech. I have seen fear in his eyes. That's why they don't want me to speak in the Parliament," said the Congress leader.
Responding on the BJP's calls for apology, he said, "My name is not Savarkar. I am a Gandhi. I won't apologise."
He also denied the BJP's charges that he had sought the intervention of international forces in the domestic affairs of the country. He said he had asked the Speaker to let him respond on the floor of the House to the allegations over his London remarks.
"BJP leaders claimed that I am helping anti-India forces. I told the Speaker that it is my right to respond to these allegations. But he didn't allow me," he said. "I have only one step and that's to fight for truth and to defend democratic nature of this country. Disqualify me for life, jail me for life, I will continue going."
"Do I look worried? I'm excited," said an undeterred Mr Gandhi.
In a prompt response, the BJP reiterated its claim that Mr Gandhi insulted Other Backward Communities (OBCs) with his remark on the Modi surname.
"He is not the only one, 32 leaders have been disqualified across the country, including six from the BJP. The Congress is trying to project Rahul Gandhi as a victim for electoral gains in Karnataka," said former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Mr Gandhi, the leading face of the Congress, was on Thursday convicted in a defamation case by a court in Gujarat, the home state of PM Modi. He was sentenced to two years in jail and consequently, he was disqualified as an MP the next day. He is yet to appeal the verdict in a higher court.
The case stemmed from Mr Gandhi's alleged remark at a 2019 election rally implying PM Modi is a criminal. "How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname," he had said in Karnataka's Kolar, leading to multiple defamation cases being filed against him in various states.
The BJP had projected this remark as a smear campaign against those who share the Modi surname and the OBC community.