Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi again on Tuesday, asking the central government to disclose the expenses made on her foreign trips since 2004, the year the UPA came to power.
BJP Congress at loggerheads over Modi's remark on Sonia
With the Gujarat election dates likely to be announced on Wednesday, this is seen by his opposition as Modi’s attempt to turn the campaign into a personality battle and gloss over local issues.
Also, Gandhi will address her first rally on Wednesday in Rajkot, Saurashtra, where the BJP is pitted against a resurgent Congress and Keshubhai Patel’s political outfit.
Addressing a youth convention organised by the state employment department, Modi said: “I am not asking the Congress president to provide the details, but I am asking the prime minister and the UPA government to provide them because it’s public money.”
Stating he had received threats from the Congress for raising the issue, he said, “I am being threatened…if I seek expenditure account details, there will be serious allegations against me. They have already put the CBI behind me.” His words evoked strong protest from the Congress.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh hit back at Modi, saying he (Modi) had been trained well by the RSS in “false propaganda”, and also compared him with German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels of the 1930s and 1940s. “Sangh training to its cadre — tell a lie, tell it loudly and repeat it more often. Doesn’t it remind you of Hitler’s Goebbels?” Singh wrote on Twitter.
“Now Narendra Modi should tell in which newspaper he read and which news agency gave him this information. There is nothing to hide regarding Soniaji’s health and foreign trips,” Singh added.
The local Congress leadership has so far mostly focused its energies on local issues, highlighting the failures of the Modi government.
“Such deplorable remarks only show he cannot fight polls on the local issues,” said Gujarat leader of opposition Shaktisinh Gohil.
RTI activist rejects Modi's claim on Sonia bill
Gujarat govt not disclosing Modi's travel expenses: RTI activist