Slamming Narendra Modi over his attack on the Congress leadership, Sonia Gandhi on Sunday accused him of "closing eyes and resorting to lies" to negate the development carried out during 15 years of her party' rule in Delhi.
Lauding Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit's tenure, she also projected the state as a model of development, accusing the opposition of "knowingly ignoring" the development carried out in Delhi.
Gandhi, however, did not name either Modi or the Bharatiya Janata Party, which she referred to as "our main opposition party".
In her twelve-minutes-long speech in chaste Hindi laced with sarcasm and liberal use of maxims popular in north India, she cautioned the people against those who were trying to "mislead" them in their "sole pursuit of power".
Gandhi's public rally at the DDA ground in ShastriPark falling in North East Delhi Parliamentary Constituency represented by Pradechief J P Agrawal, took place a day after Modi's election meeting in Dwarka in which he had attacked Dikshit, accusing her for failing to provide even basic amenties to the people.
He had said that even small states and cities were better off than the national capital. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate had also slammed Congress for its "arrogance" and "born to rule" mindset, attacking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Dikshit.
Rejecting the remarks, Sonia said, "I am also a resident of Delhi. All of us are witness to the development that has happened in Delhi in last 15 years. There is a maxim that what is visible to open eyes does not need any proof (Haanth Kangan to Arsi Kya).
"But it's a different matter if somebody closes the eyes knowingly with a design and resorts to lies." Dismissing Modi and the BJP's criticism of the Congress leadership, the party President sought to strike an emotion chord, reminding people of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
"The opposition has always done the same since Independence, resorting to baseless allegations. Did they spare Mahatma Gandhi. No they did not. Did they spare Jawaharlal Nehru, who was a great freedom fighter...? Did they spare Indira Gandhi, who worked relentlessly for the poor, the minorities...with a special affection for them in her heart.
"It was this sentiment for the country due to which Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed their lives. How will they spare us, Manmohan Singh and Dikshit, when they did not spare those who built our nation," Gandhi said.
Amid concerns in the Congress that Arvind Kejriwal's party could make the contest trinagular in Delhi, Dikshit, who is seeking a fourth term, told the rally that if a wrong decision was taken and Congress was "defeated", the entire nation will suffer the consequences.
Cautioning people, she said, "The speed of Delhi's development should not be hampered. Delhi is marching ahead. If we took a wrong decision and either weakened the Congress
government or defeated it, not only Delhi but the entire country will have to face its consequences...Delhi is the national capital. What happens in Delhi first, takes place in the country later."
As Modi keeps up with "Congress-free India" line, Dikshit said, "No other party tells you what it wants to do for Delhi, what is its plan but its only slogan is remove the Congress."
Gandhi said, "By misleading the people, by creating confusion among them, you can capture the chair but cannot win their hearts. We have served you by our heart and, hence appeal to you to ensure victory of our candidates with a huge number of votes".
While highlighting that Delhi has welcomed people from all castes, creeds and regions, the Congress President also sought to caution the people against some, who were trying to "spread poison through their narrow ideology".
"Such people definitely include the main opposition party but there are some other people also. They need to be asked what is their ideology. Can you make good policies without good ideology? All of you are conscious citizens.
"You see what is the history of others and that of ours. What have they done for you and given to the country vis-à-vis the contribution of Congress to the nation. The picture will be clear," Gandhi said.
Modi had in his speech on Saturday targeted the prime minister, Rahul and Dikshit.
Modi had said that while the Delhi chief minister questions him over the Gujarat model of development, she has been unable to provide even basic drinking water to residents of the capital after 15 years of her rule.
Countering the attack, Gandhi said that while there is a long list of the achievements of the Congress government, "our opponents fail to see all this".
"While these things may not be visible to our opponents or they may not accept them, the people of Delhi are seeing all this and they will also accept that the picture of Delhi has changed in the last 15 years. Those, whose sole target is to abuse Congress and those who are only bothered about chair, will not accept all this.
"People used to say that Metro will not succeed in Delhi. Today, Delhi Metro has a name in the whole world. There have been improvements on the education front. Technical colleges have opened....A number of steps were taken for the uplift of the weaker sections, women and minorities," Gandhi said.
She said that the opposition has also criticised Nehru, who was visionary and tried to bring development in the country through science. "But some people did not like it.
Though he was criticised by them, he was the Jawahar (gem) for crores of people" she said. Seeking to rebut Modi's criticism of her government in Delhi, Dikshit said while the country's average GDP is 8.32 per cent, Delhi's GDP was 10.33 per cent. She said that the statistics show that Delhi is among the most prosperous cities in the country.
"The per capita income of the people is more than Rs 2 lakh annually in Delhi, which is the best in the country. There are four crore mobile phones for the 1.7 crore people.
It shows the way development has taken place," she said, referring to the presence of a world-class airport, metro and airconditioned buses.
She said that Delhi is the best city in terms of development, electrification, road connectivity and other parameters while her son and party Member of Parliament Sandip Dikshit said that nobody talks about what the scene of Delhi was between 1993 and 1998, when the BJP ruled the state.