Raigarh/Korba: Rattled by the tea-seller taunt, Narendra Modi on Friday accused UPA leaders of "selling the nation" and asked whether they are eligible to become the prime minister of the country.
Imitating Rahul Gandhi`s style of pulling up his sleeves, the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate also sharpened his attack on the Nehru-Gandhi family, saying the Congress Vice President was talking of changing the system when it was his father, grand-mother and great grand-father who made it and allegedly ruined the country.
"UPA says tea sellers cannot be PM. Are those who sell our nation eligible to become the PM then? UPA leaders are cheating the poor by insulting them...the poor will have their revenge," Modi said in a hard-hitting speech in Raigarh in Chhattisgarh, 230 km from Raipur.
Naresh Agarwal, a senior leader of UPA ally Samajwadi Party, had mocked Modi`s credentials for leading the country, saying a tea-seller cannot make a good prime minister.
"A tea-seller is a better person that those who sell the country," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.
"The Shehzada ( Rahul Gandhi) had come here and was talking about changing the system. In the first place, he should know that the system was made by his father (Rajiv Gandhi), his grand-mother ( Indira Gandhi) and great grand- father (Jawaharlal Nehru) for 60 years during their rule.
"It is they who made the system. It is they who distorted it and misused it for their personal gains. When they know that it is the time to go, they are talking about systems."
Modi also targeted Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for alleging that Chhattisgarh government did not do enough for development of agriculture sector in the state.
"Madam, please come here after doing your homework. If you do not have information, please sit with Raman Singhji and then come. Please do not give such statements, it is the question of country`s pride and prestige," he said.
Modi criticised Sonia for blaming the Raman Singh-led government in Chattisgarh for the spread of naxalism in the state when it was the Congress which repealed the anti-terror law that was enacted by the NDA regime.
Alleging that the Congress-led UPA Government was busy in "either digging for Modi or digging for gold," Modi said these days Congress leaders and "more than 1,000 researchers" sit in front of television cameras to tear apart his speeches to abuse him in public debates.
Raising the issue of attack on veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar by some Congress leaders for backing him as prime ministerial nominee, Modi said this smacked of fascism and was against the norms of democracy. "Isn`t Congress acting like Hitler?, "he asked.