Congress, Oppn hit out at Modi over Rajiv barb

Congress President Rahul Gandhi at a public meeting in Gurugram on May 4. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘bhrashtachari no. 1’ barb against former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi stirred the Congress party to life while opposition leaders rallied to the defence of the late PM.

Reacting to the remarks, Congress President Rahul Gandhi responded with a “huge hug” and a word of advice on ‘karma’. 

“Modi Ji, The battle is over. Your Karma awaits you. Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won’t protect you. All my love and a huge hug. Rahul,” the Congress president tweeted.

While Rahul exercised restraint, Congress and other opposition leaders went all out to pour scorn over Modi accusing him of “crossing limits of decency” by defaming a person who died in 1991.

In an all out attack on the Congress, the Prime Minister had hit out at Rahul claiming that his only aim was to tarnish his image. “Your father was termed as ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘bhrashtachari No. 1 (Corrupt No. 1),” Modi had said on Saturday.

AICC General Secretary and Rahul’s younger sister Priyanka was unsparing in her criticism of Modi.

“The Prime Minister, who is seeking votes in the name of martyrs, yesterday disrespected the martyrdom of a noble man. People in Amethi will give a befitting reply. Rajiv Gandhi gave his life for the people of Amethi. Yes, Modi ji, this nation never forgives deception,” Priyanka said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said Modi’s remarks against Rajiv Gandhi showed the “extent of his desperation and fear of defeat”. Senior leaders Ahmed Patel, K C Venugopal, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, among others issued statements to condemn Modi’s remarks.

The Congress party received support several opposition leaders.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hurled the “Expiry PM’ barb at Modi while terming his remarks against Rajiv as “unfortunate”.

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said Modi’s remarks were “not only despicable but also highly condemnable”. Kumaraswamy said the remarks were also reflective on the Prime Minister’s state of mind. 

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said the statement indicated the levels to which “people can stoop for the sake of clinging on to power”.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also condemned the “meanness of the Prime Minister”.

BJP defends Modi

The BJP reacted sharply to Rahul’s ‘karma awaits’ remark, saying the Congress president is playing politics of “curse and abuse”. Defending Modi for his comments, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Karma awaits everybody. Congress will be paying for their ‘karma’ (deeds) heavily. They have looted the country. Congress means falsehood and loot,” Javadekar said while addressing a press conference here at the BJP headquarters.

Tejasvi Surya, BJP candidate from Bangalore South, cited the example of Savarkar. “It is okay to label a patriot like Savarkar as traitor even after his death. It passes off as intellectual & classy. But its not okay to call Rajiv Gandhi ‘Brashtachari No.1’ even in face of insurmountable evidence pointing to his guilt. It is derogatory & crass,” he tweeted.

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