Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose "corrupt number 1" remark on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi triggered a political slugfest for the last two days, on Monday challenged the Congress to fight the remaining phases of Lok Sabha elections on the issue of self-respect of the 'Bofors accused' Prime Minister's name.
"I challenge the Congress party, its president, his family and associates to fight the remaining two phases of the elections on the issue of respect of the former Prime Minister who faced serious charges of corruption," Modi said at a rally in Chaibasa, Jharkhand.
Last week, the Prime Minister, while addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh, had said, "Your father (Rajiv Gandhi) was termed 'Mr Clean' by his courtiers, but his life ended as 'Bhrashtachari No 1."
A day after Modi's remark, Congress president Rahul Gandhi hit back at the Prime Minister saying, "Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won't protect you."
"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 had tweeted on Sunday.
Continuing his tirade against Congress, Modi dared the party that if it "cares" about the party veteran's respect, it should fight elections in Bhopal, Delhi, and Punjab where polls are due on the issue of his respect.
"if you have guts, let's fight the elections in Bhopal where thousands of people in gas leakage in his name. What did the then Prime Minister do will come in front of everyone," he asked.
Modi went on to say, "We will fight on the issues raised by you. Everything will come to the fore. How was he as a Prime Minister? What did he for the country?"
"I have the courage to put this challenge in front of you. Now let's see whether Congress and Mahamilavi (highly adulterated) people accept this Chowkidar's challenge," Modi said, adding that he had just "recalled the old misdeeds of a member of the naamdar (dynast) family."
"They (Congress) have been abusing the Prime Minister of the country for last one year. I just make people remember about corruption in the Bofors deal. It created a storm. Some people felt a very intense ache in their stomach. The more these people will cry, the more this generation will become aware of how a family looted and destroyed the country," Modi said.
He also accused the Congress of patronising corrupt leaders in the Opposition.