New Delhi/Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday targeted Congress with 'political damaad' jibe apparently directed at Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, which later saw Rahul Gandhi taking a dig at him with caustic '56-inch chest' remark.
During a speech at the centenary celebrations of former J&K minister Girdhari Lal Dogra in Jammu, Prime Minster Narendra Modi said "we all know how politcal damaads can be” in what was seen as a reference to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra.
PM Modi heaped praise on Girdhari Lal Dogra and said that he was a good judge of people.
"The example of his good judgement can be seen in the son-in-law he chose," PM Modi said amid applause and laughter referring to finance minister Arun Jaitley.
He noted that Dogra was Jammu and Kashmir's tall leader who had presented 26 budgets as finance minister of the state but never did any favours for his family members, including his son-in-law Arun Jaitley, who is now the Union Finance Minister.
"Both (Dogra and Jaitley) took their own routes in public life. "Otherwise we all know what embarrassment sons-in-law have become for their in-laws nowadays," he said, in an apparent reference of Vadra, drawing applause from the audience.
The PM also took the opportunity to disapprove political untouchability, saying the national heritage should not be divided and all leaders who have worked and died for the nation should be given equal regard irrespective of their ideologies and affiliations.
Modi said public life cannot run by judging a person on the basis of his political party, ideology or leadership.
Separately, addressing party workers in Rajasthan, Rahul Gandhi today said "This 56-inch chest (of Narendra Modi) will turn into 5.6 inches in six months. And who will turn this into 5.6 inches, it is the Congress party, people of the country, the farmers and the labourers."
Congress vice president also warned that his party will under no circumstances allow the passage of the land acquisition bill in parliament.
Taking repeated jibes at the Vasundhara Raje government, he called it a "Lalit Modi sarkar".
It was the second straight day in Rajasthan that Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
"For the first time we have a government which is helping the Opposition by giving them issue after issue," he said.
Gandhi denounced Vasundhara Raje on the issue of former IPL chief Lalit Modi, who he said remote-controlled the Rajasthan government.
"Over 100 years ago there was a remote in London that used to control the government here," he said, in an obvious reference to the British Raj. "Now again a government here is controlled by remote from London."
Gandhi added, "It's not Vasundhara Raje's or BJP's government in Rajasthan. It's Lalit Modi's government.
"They (Raje and Modi) are business partners. She broke the law of this country, helped a wanted fugitive.
"Scams and issues are everywhere in Madhya Pradesh. It's Vyapam (in Madhya Pradesh) and it's Munde in Maharasthra.
"Why is the PM silent, the senior Modi? Bring him (Lalit Modi) back. But after becoming PM, he has forgotten all this," Gandhi said.
Praising the previous Congress government in Rajasthan led by Ashok Gehlot, Gandhi said it provided free medicine to everyone while the present BJP government in the state was closing down hospitals.
BJP, however, hit back, and its general secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said "the 56-inch chest has been realised due to the blessing of crores of Indians" and Rahul should not dare measure it.
"Or, it will prove costly," he said.
Modi had spoken frequently about "56-inch chest", a reference to strong leadership, during the Lok Sabha election and it has been used by Congress to taunt him.
Referring to Rahul's barbs at the Modi government over land bill and his claim that Congress will not allow an inch of land to be acquired under it, Singh said he should also speak "about how Vadra managed to acquire so much of properties in Haryana".
"He has to grow out of diapers he is wearing. His remarks, behaviour remind us that he remains a baby in diapers," Singh said while raking up the alleged scams during the Congress-led UPA rule and controversial land deals involving Rahul's brother-in-law Robert Vadra.
On Rahul's remark that the Raje government's "remote" was with Lalit Modi in London, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, "Congress was used to running governments by remote control and believed it was a model. It is not so in BJP."