The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday launched a fresh attack on Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress leader's refusal to apologise to the OBC community for his "indecent" comments is yet another "manifestation" of the Gandhi family's political arrogance.
BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani alleged that Gandhi was trying to "rip" apart the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But he will not succeed as the people of the country are with the prime minister, she asserted at a press conference.
On the Congress raising questions over Gandhi being served a notice to vacate his official bungalow, she said the property does not belong to him, but the people.
Gandhi has been served the notice to vacate the bungalow by April 22 following his disqualification as a member of Lok Sabha after his conviction and sentencing in a criminal defamation case last week over his "Modi surname" remark.
"In an interview to a magazine in 2019, Gandhi in his own words had claimed that Modi's greatest strength is his image and that he will rip his image apart," the minister of women and child development said.
"The political psychosis of Rahul Gandhi is at full display. He abused and accused Modi in Parliament but could not verify his own statement by authenticating it with his own signature," she said.
Such is Gandhi's political frustration that a promise he made could not fructify and hence, he continues with his tirade against Modi, the BJP leader said.
The "venom" that the Congress leader has been spewing against the prime minister in his "political frustration" has now turned into an insult to the country, Irani alleged.
"One example of it you saw is Rahul Gandhi's England visit," she said and alleged that Gandhi has neither anything to do with India's democracy nor with the majesty of the courts. "His only target is Modi. Modi's only target is the country's development," Irani said.
The BJP has been criticising the Congress leader over his remarks in the UK, including his "democracy under attack" comment.
"So Rahul Gandhi, your promise made to a magazine's editor that you will rip Modi's image apart is a promise that shall remain unfulfilled because Narendra Modi's greatest strength is the people of India," Irani said.
Referring to his conviction in the defamation case by a Surat court, she said that "Rahul Gandhi could not develop the humility to beg for the forgiveness of the OBC community in our country is just another manifestation of a political arrogance called the Gandhi family".
Gandhi was convicted by the court not for abusing an individual but the other backward classes (OBC) community, Irani claimed and added that this was not the first time that the Congress leader and his family have "abused" people belonging to "backward communities or tribal communities".
"The country saw Gandhi's political arrogance at display when a Dalit leader of the Congress was made to pick up his footwear," she said, without naming the leader.
"When the BJP proposed the name of Droupadi Murmu, belonging to a poor tribal family, as a candidate for presidential election, the Congress leadership, under the tutelage of the Gandhi family, unleashed vile attacks on her," Irani said.
The BJP leader also alleged that it was not the first time that "someone" from the Gandhi family had "threatened" Modi.
"If we look at the UPA's history, the Gandhi family tried their best to ensure that Modi is punished for his leadership capacities to deliver development," the Union minister said.
But what the Gandhi family could not stop was the support of the people of India to Prime Minister Modi's "development politics", she asserted.
To a question on Gandhi having been asked to vacate his official bungalow, Irani said "It is not just his house. It belongs to the people."
"The Congress has become used to the way they grabbed the land of poor people in Amethi (Uttar Pradesh), they will grab the houses of taxpayers in the capital of India," said Irani, who defeated Gandhi in the Congress bastion of Amethi in the 2019 parliamentary polls.
Gandhi had also contested the polls from Wayanad in Kerala and won. Till his conviction, he represented Wayanad in Lok Sabha.
Asked about the statement of US State Department Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel that Washington is watching Gandhi's court case, Irani hoped that the external affairs ministry will come up with an "appropriate response" to it.