Cong-BJP spar over Cong leaders` debate with Narendra Modi

BJP charge that Sonia, Rahul and PM are shying away from a debate with Modi led to a war of words with Congress which alleged that Gujarat CM is concocting facts.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 12, 2013, 23:20 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP charge that Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and the Prime Minister are shying away from a debate with Narendra Modi on Tuesday led to a war of words with the Congress which alleged that the Gujarat chief minister is concocting facts.

Union Minister Jairam Ramesh conceded that the Congress President and Vice President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should speak more in public but said his party does not feel it should get into a "Tu-tu, main-main" (levelling charges and counter-charges) with Modi.

"Modi thinks he is making history but everyday he is making up history. He is making all sorts of claims. Modi is coming up with new facts which go against the grain of

historical truth and scholarship. He has even invented stories about the founder of his own party," Ramesh said.

He did not agree that Rahul is not countering the charges made by BJP`s prime ministerial candidate.

"I don`t think Rahul Gandhi should get into a tu-tu, main-main with Modi. Modi wants politics of the gutter, politics of abuse and counter-abuse, politics of innuendos and insinuations. I think it goes against what Mr Gandhi stands for and against the way Congress would like the campaign to go," Ramesh said.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman countered this, saying Ramesh and the Congress top brass are being condescending and this is objectionable.

"We are not living in a feudal India. We are living in an India that is democratic and debates are welcome. In fact, political parties are duty bound to debate. Engaging politically is something that Rahul Gandhi does not want to do or is unable to do. That is his choice," she said.

Sitharaman alleged that with Congress top three shying away from a debate, the party is using its "henchmen" to slander BJP leaders and this is unfair.

She maintained that the allegations made by Congress against Modi are not even worth considering. "They are the ones who patented `maut ka saudagar`... Answering questions raised by the Prime Minister is not `tu-tu, main-main`," she said, adding that Congress is using foul language.

Sitharaman denied that Modi was making up history.