The guns are drawn in an escalating, personal and bitter political battle between the leaders of the Bharatiya Jananata Party (BJP) and the Congress over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments abroad.
Addressing a crowd comprising members of the Indian community in San Jose, Modi made a comment about corruption in India and said: "In our country it doesn't take much for allegations to come up against politicians. Someone made Rs 50 crore, someone's son made Rs 250 crore, someone's daughter made Rs 500 crore, someone's damaad (son-in-law) made Rs 1000 crore..." as the crowd broke into laughter and applause.
A fuming Congress Party immediately connected the dots and launched an attack on the PM, believing his comment to be a jab at Robert Vadra, a flamboyant businessman and the son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, accused of improper dealings with India's biggest property developer. Leading the charge, Congress leader Anand Sharma called a press conference in the national capital and said "Criticizing your country outside, on foreign soil, is in poor taste." He even insinuated that the PM lied about his family's humble roots.
On Monday, in a counter-offensive, BJP's national spokesperson MJ Akbar said that the "Congress has become the voice of untruth, malice and utter frustration. It seems to have become a party trapped in an inept leadership."
"The prime minister is devoted to his mother, which is quite a contrast to a mother who has ruined a party and is ruining a nation by her utter devotion to her completely inept son. It is this doting behaviour which has made Rahul Gandhi the spoilt child of Indian politics," Akbar said.
PM is only about 'I me,myself'.Have you seen any leader in the world project himself like this?-Anand Sharma,Congress pic.twitter.com/wbfECSzUTI— ANI (@ANI_news) September 28, 2015
All of PM's visits are official, he doesn't go on personal and hush hush visits like the Gandhi family-GVLN Rao,BJP pic.twitter.com/j6D81Yfa8I— ANI (@ANI_news) September 28, 2015
Unfortunate that a senior politician like Mr.Anand Sharma is dragging the PM's mother in petty politics-Sambit Patra,BJP— ANI (@ANI_news) September 28, 2015
Akbar had earlier said that "the Congress gets angry because it is guilty. It has such a history of continuous, relentless and unimaginable corruption. Remember, the scale of 2G scam - 1.76 thousand crores, and coal mines corruption - 200 thousand crores of rupees, can you imagine just in two such scams nearly 400 thousand crores of rupees was taken away by just one party - the ruling party."
In point-to-point rebuttal of Sharma's accusations -- one being on the funding of the PM's frequent foreign visits -- Akbar said instead of posting a picture of an "alleged" international conference on Twitter, Gandhi should have explained what he was doing there. Gandhi is said to be currently attending a conference in Aspen.