More than a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi rebuffed him for similar remarks, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said on Thursday that "not even a dog" from the homes of RSS and BJP leaders had died for the country's independence.
The AICC general secretary was speaking at a rally to launch the second phase of the party's Jan Sangharsh Yatra in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district in Faizpur.
"We (Congress) gave our life for the country and made sacrifices. Indira Gandhi sacrificed her life for unity of the country. Rajiv Gandhi gave his life for the nation. Tell me, did even a dog die in a house of BJP, RSS (leaders) for the country's freedom?" Mr Kharge said.
"Tell us, which of your people went to jail (for India's independence)," Mr Kharge said.
In February last year, PM Modi had slammed Mr Kharge, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, for a similar remark.
"People such as Gandhi ji, Indira ji sacrificed their lives for the country's unity, who was there from your side? Not even a dog," Mr Kharge had said in the Lower House.
PM Modi later said during a speech in the Lok Sabha, "the Congress has never spoken of the contribution of freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh and Chandra Shekhar Azad. They think only one family has given us freedom".
Notably, Faizpur was the venue of the Congress' first convention in rural areas in 1936. It was then attended by Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders.
As part of the yatra, Congress leaders are touring Maharashtra, covering almost 150 Assembly seats over three months, in what is being touted as the party's largest mass outreach campaign in the state.
The first phase of the yatra, from Kolhapur to Pune across western Maharashtra, where the party lost its grip in the 2014 polls, concluded on September 8.
During the second phase, party leaders will campaign across north Maharashtra till October 9.
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