Rahul Gandhi's labelling an ordinance to allow convicted lawmakers to retain their seats as "nonsense" has given ammunition to the BJP to attack the government, the saffron party feels.
For the BJP, Gandhi's statement not just shows the Prime Minister as the "weakest ever" but also suggests that the Gandhi scion does not have the wisdom and ability to occupy a responsible office.
The saffron party had stepped in to fish in troubled waters as soon as the statement came, calling for the PM's resignation if he had any "self-respect" left. It also sought to challenge UPA allies who were part of the cabinet to clear the air about what they thought about Gandhi's public outburst.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that if the PM didn't respond to Gandhi's attack, he would leave no legacy behind. Instead of leaving his footprints, Jaitley added, the PM would remain a footnote in history.
"The issue impinges upon the respect for the office of Prime Minister," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said. "Does Rahul Gandhi even have average understanding of national interest? That Rahul Gandhi whom Congress leaders project as a future PM..." Recalling that he had earlier demanded the PM's resignation, Prasad appealed to the PM to decide whether he had any conscience left.
Suggesting that there was a deep divide within the Congress, Prasad pointed out that the party's core group - which includes Sonia Gandhi - had approved the ordinance.
Prasad wondered what UPA allies like Sharad Pawar, who are part of the Cabinet, would say about their decision being dubbed "nonsense" by Gandhi.