New Delhi: Hitting back at Narendra Modi for his attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress on Thursday said that he was indulging in "petty politics" and rejected as "tall talk" his challenge for a public debate.
"Prime Minister will come last. Let him debate with us first," Union Minister Salman Khurshid said here when asked about the Gujarat Chief Minister`s challenge to the PM.
He said that Modi is "so restless to become something big in the country" that he forgets that this is a day when political differences are forgotten.
To a question about Modi comparing his speech with that of the Prime Minister, Khurshid said it was a case of "tall talk by a person with small stature (Chhota munh badi baat)".
"Petty politics must not be allowed...," he said to a question as to whether politics is taking over Indo-Pak relationship.
Modi, in his Independence Day speech in Bhuj, had slammed the Prime Minister for India`s "weak and feeble" response to provocations from Pakistan and China.
The war of words between Modi and Congress appeared to touch a new low with the Gujarat Chief Minister talking of a `serial of Saas, Bahu and Damaad`, an oblique reference to Robert Vadra`s relationship with Sonia Gandhi and Khurshid wondering whether Modi was a "villain (Khalnayak)".
"And is he like Khalnayak? There was also that a film named Khalnayak. Khalnayak serial is also running. Ask him about that," he said.
The minister was talking to reporters at the AICC headquarters after the Congress president hoisted the national flag.
"Nepotism used to be the core of corruption in older days TV serials...With passage of time it has changed. A new TV serial of Mama and Bhanja came in corruption and now it`s moving towards a serial of Saas, Bahu and Damaad," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.
While Khurshid advised Modi to desist from "patting his back", another Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad sought to dismiss attempts of comparison between Modi and the Prime Minister by quipping, "If today I say that I am bigger than (Barack) Obama, people will call me mad."
Azad also referred to a Hindi proverb to reject any comparison between the Prime Minister and Modi, wondering, "How can any CM give a challenge to PM. Where is the comparison between Raja Bhoj and Gangu..." He added, "Who has stopped anybody from giving a challenge. Sitting in one`s home everyone is a tiger..."
"If somebody has no scheme, no programme and does politics only in the name of religion... What can we say about it," Azad said when asked about the BJP leader`s criticism of the UPA government`s programmes and policies.
He said, "There is one Prime Minister in the country, while the number of Chief Ministers is two-and-a-half dozen. I do not want to compare one Chief Minister out of them with the Prime Minister."
"For us, all Chief Ministers are the same. To whichever party they may belong, they are Chief Ministers for us. We also have a campaign committee, each political party has a campaign committee chairman. So there is nothing big about it."
Khurshid had a dig at the Gujarat Chief Minister over his "yes we can" speech in Hyderabad, saying it was an import from Obama`s speech, which someone prepared for him.
"If somebody gives him something in writing, he speaks that. Somebody wrote for him what Obama had said and he said that also. He said yes we can... Now we will have to see, whose written text he is reading from when he talks about Pakistan, Europe, America and India," he said.