Reacting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's charge that the Bharatiya Janata Party was lowering the quality of political debate, Narendra Modi on Monday said he should first think of his "insult" by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who had rejected his ordinance on convicted MPs as "nonsense".
"The dignity of PM's post was shattered. Who did it? Who has insulted the entire Cabinet? Who has humiliated the entire Parliament? The party of which you are so proud of and that party which has made you sit on the PM's chair, that party's vice-president had the audacity of calling your decision nonsense," Modi said at an election rally in Chhattarpur, Madhya Pradesh.
Modi was referring to the matter of the ordinance, now revoked, which was cleared by the Union cabinet with an intention to nullify a Supreme Court order prescribing immediate disqualification of an MLA or MP if convicted in a court of law.
Gandhi had termed the ordinance "complete nonsense", saying it should be "torn up and thrown away". "No BJP member has committed the sin or caused the humiliation that he (Gandhi) did by tearing up the paper of a decision which was taken democratically. Those with whose blessing you are occupying the (PM's) chair have conspired to show you down in front of billions of people," Modi said.
Modi, the BJP prime ministerial candidate, said Gandhi's comments were like a "slap on the (PM's) face" while he had been on a United States visit. "Tell us prime minister, have we done this? If you cannot say anything against them, then don't, but do not blame us for this," Modi said.
Modi further alleged that "shahzade" (Gandhi) had lowered the dignity of democratic institutions. "Recently, he (Gandhi) said the BJP is chor (thief)... The country knows that when the last Parliament session was on, there were slogans of "Chor, chor"... You also asked if the opposition in any other country calls its PM chor?" Modi said.
Gandhi had last week had dubbed the BJP a "party of thieves" during an election rally in Chhattisgarh and accused it of "looting natural resources" in that state. "Is this kind of behaviour right? If you say we are thieves, then we accept this charge... We have committed theft. We have stolen the Congress's sleep," he said.
The BJP leader said that if Dr Singh, Rahul and Congress President Sonia Gandhi wanted to fight the BJP, they should do so on developmental issues. He warned the Congress against using government power and false propaganda in any such contest, saying it cannot suppress the BJP with those tactics.
Modi also targeted Congress General Secretary and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, saying he "spoke too much". "He (Digvijay) has ruled this state for a long time. He is into a new industry these days -- he is the chairman of the Lie Manufacturing Factory. Even when he is caught (lying), he does not have any shame," Modi said.
Talking about the Chhattisgarh polls, for which, too, he has campaigned, Modi alleged that the Congress had become so frustrated there, it was shying away from announcing its chief ministerial candidate. "They are trying some backdoor entry... They are not announcing (the CM candidate's name) as the party would be divided if it did so... they are spreading rumours... they are saying if you press the button on BJP's symbol... you will get electrocuted... They can see defeat," alleged Modi.
Turning to Madhya Pradesh, he lauded the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government for its achievements in the field of agriculture and tourism. He further said that these achievements were made despite a hostile Centre which was not cooperating with the state in its developmental endeavours.
Chouhan has visited almost all the villages in Madhya Pradesh and given a detailed account of the work done by his government to the people, Modi claimed. "The Congress did not do anything for Madhya Pradesh and ruined it during the 50 years when it was in power in the state," Modi alleged.