BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi today today attacked Sonia Gandhi over her assertion that Congress stood for democratic values, citing the ruling party's "refusal" to consult BJP in selecting the country's President and former PM Indira Gandhi's targeting of the media during Emergency.
The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate took on the Congress president over her televised appeal three days ago and said her party and government had "belittled" and "humilated" all democratic institutions from the CAG, the CVC and the CBI.
"The constitution gave media freedom. Your (Sonia's) mother-in-law snatched this and put behind the bars self-respecting journalists... Could you not have enhanced the country's pride by consulting the opposition in choosing the President? You used CBI to reach a majority in Parliament whenever the need arose.
"Your shehzade (Rahul Gandhi) called a press conference to reject a decision taken by the Cabinet headed by a Prime Minister who was loyal to you. You talk of Congress respecting democratic institutions, what kind of respect is this"? he said in a speech broadcast across the country through 3D technology.
Taking a dig at her and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, he claimed Rahul seemed to have run away from the field and she has had to take charge now.
"He must be searching for toffees and balloons," Modi said, refering to often-repeated barbs of Rahul at his developmental claims which the Congress leader has derided as "toffee-model" and "baloon".
Modi also cited the registration of a criminal case by the CBI against senior IB officials in Ishrat Jahan encounter case to target the Congress-led UPA government and alleged that it pitted two "vital" institutions against each other.
In the strongest-ever attack on BJP in the current campaign, Sonia Gandhi had appealed to people to defeat "divisive and autocratic" forces which will "destroy" the Indian ethos.
The appeal for support to Congress, in the form of a short televised speech, saw Gandhi launching an all-out attack on BJP saying its vision is "clouded with hatred and falsehood" and its ideology is "divisive and autocratic".
Modi, however, did not reply to her attack on BJP in his speech.
He expressed confidence over the BJP's performance in the elections to 232 seats in Lok Sabha elections so far and said it was clear that the current Congress government has been "unseated by people".
"We have to work for a strong government in the remaining seats. We have to aim for 300 plus seats. A strong government can take strong steps and your strong intentions can then bear fruits," he said.