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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India's Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Indian Congress chief Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter on Sunday to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s harsh remarks about his father, Rajiv Gandhi. Modi said that the former prime minister ended his life as “bhrashtachari (a corrupt person) number one”. Rahul’s reply was a hug, and a warning that “karma awaits” Modi.

Modi had launched the attack during an election rally in the Indian state of the Uttar Pradesh.

According to the Indian news network NDTV: “Modi was apparently referring to the Bofors case that devastated the Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s and ruined the party’s prospects of returning to power for years. The scandal swirled around allegations that Swedish defence manufacturer Bofors paid huge kickbacks to Rajiv Gandhi and others for the sale of its artillery gun to India. The High Court said there was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi had accepted bribes.”

Many Twitter users were livid after the speech and said that such comments were unbecoming of a country’s leader just for votes.

Tweep @VinayDokania: “Late Sh. Rajiv Gandhi was respected globally for his vision and leadership. If Modi thinks he’ll gain a few votes by speaking ill of this great man who was martyred By terrorists, while he was fighting for peace and development of India, he’s absolutely wrong.”

Like many others, Twitter user @Sheba_oath said Modi’s government had created an environment of hatred in the country. The tweep wrote: “I really don’t care whether I get any benefit from any government but I really wish and pray that this Modi government (@BJP4India) will never come into power again now it really has become a fight of ideologies. Love versus hatred and everyone knows who is full of hatred.”

Member of Parliament, P. Chidambaram tweeted: “Mr. Modi has crossed all limits of propriety and decency by defaming a man (Rajiv Gandhi) who died in 1991.”

He added that the charges against Rajiv Gandhi were dropped by the Delhi High Court: “Does Mr Modi read anything at all? Does he know that the charge against Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was thrown out by the High Court, Delhi as ‘completely baseless?’”

In his speech, Modi added that Rahul Gandhi was only interested in tarnishing his image accusing the PM of corruption in the Rafale deal.

“By tarnishing my image and by making me look small, these people want to form an unstable and a weak government in the country,” he said.

The Congress and other opposition parties had claimed that Narendra Modi’s government reworked a UPA-era deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France’s Dassault Aviation at a much higher price tag and awarded the contract to industrialist Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence in spite of several stakeholders advising against it.

The allegations were denied by the centre, Reliance and the French government.