In an apparent dig at the Gandhi-Nehru family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said those who made the country tremble and turned it into a jail are now making rounds of courts.
Speaking at the 'New India Youth Conclave' here, he said no one had thought that a 'chaiwalla' would challenge them.
Responding to a question from the audience on the Congress and the proposed grand alliance of opposition parties, Modi said when he came to power, he decided to wipe out corruption from the top.
"You have seen four generations (of a family), whose name would make the country tremble. Such was their power they turned the country into a jail for 18 months (during Emergency). No one had thought a 'chaiwalla' would challenge them," he said.
"I hope you are aware that they are out on bail," he said, apparently referring to the National Herald case in which Rahul and Sonia Gandhi have secured bail.
"You are aware that they are out on bail, right? Those from their 'darbaars' (their courtiers) are making rounds of courts. I am confident, I have the blessings of the 125 crore people, no matter how many rounds of courts (they make), one day they would have to go (to jail). Those who have looted the country will have to return it," he said.
Virtually launching a campaign for the Lok Sabha polls, Modi said his government brought about a "change" replacing "disappointment with hope".
To a question about his efforts to bring about a change in the country, he said, "Terrorists attacked Mumbai on 26/11. What happened after that? Some floral tributes and candle vigils. And what happened after Uri attack in our tenure?"
The audience replied, "Surgical strike."
Many people died in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack but the previous government remained in slumber. "But, Uri attack could not let us sleep. For us, every drop of our soldiers' blood is sacred. I had the same feelings a soldier will have after the Uri attack. And that resulted in the surgical strike. That is the way to bring a change," he said.
Modi conceded that soldiers were still being killed in places such as Kashmir, but added that they are dying with dignity and fighting the terrorists head on.
The 10-year rule of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was marred by corruption which had eaten into the system like "termites", he said, listing scandals such as the alleged coal scam and 2G spectrum.
"And you know how far the 'G' goes," he said, attacking the Gandhis in a veiled manner.
On the Congress, Modi said it was not enough to merely defeat it.
"The real meaning of Congress-Mukt (Congress-free) Bharat is we have to eradicate everything which they brought in, such as corruption and dynastic politics," he said.
When the NDA government came to power, Indian economy was at the 10th position in the world, now it is ranked 6th, the prime minister said, adding "the day is not far when our economy will be ranked fifth".
Culprits in rape cases are now hanged within days after a speedy trial, he said, to illustrate how a change has come about.
Modi said his government is countering opposition's "negativity" with "positivity".
Asked what advice he would give to first-time voters, Modi said though Indian democracy is "vibrant", the mentality of political parties is still "archaic".
Opposition, instead of focusing on people's problems, was obsessed about him, he said.
"Modi is their only agenda. I wonder whether they ever get sleep thinking about me," he quipped.
The new generation must be made aware of "how the country was looted for 70 years", Modi said.