Making a vitriolic attack on Sonia Gandhi on the Italian marines' case, Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Monday sought to suggest that the duo were being shielded by the Congress president.
"Two poor Indian fishermen were shot dead by two Italian marines. Will Sonia Gandhi reply as to how the marines were allowed to leave the country? Who in Delhi allowed them to leave and on whose direction the government is acting," Modi asked at a rally in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar.
"Please tell us in which jail of the country the two were lodged. They should be in jail but where are they? They killed our fishermen but were allowed to go. Is that defending the interest of the country? And you are trying to give us a certificate in patriotism," Modi said continuing his tirade.
His outbursts come a day after Sonia accused the opposition party of pursuing a divisive ideology. Modi said had the Supreme Court not intervened, the marines would not have returned.
The 2012 killing of the fishermen off the Kerala coast had strained the ties between India and Italy. The marines had said they mistook the fishermen for pirates.
Addressing rallies in neighbouring Assam later in the day, Modi pilloried the Congress on issues including black money, corruption etc and predicted its fall. "Despite demands, the Congress didn't initiate any measures in the last 10 years to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks," Modi said. He dubbed the Congress' latest election manifesto, which commits among others to bring back black money, as 'betrayal paper'.
Modi said if the BJP was voted to power, it would take all measures to stop the loot of government money. "The impression that I got after visiting the places is that Congress won't get 10 seats in none of the states. And in some, they won't even be able to open their account," he said.