Sparring over Rahul Gandhi's visit to the US intensified today with the BJP claiming the conference he was to attend had ended in July, triggering a sharp rebuttal from the Congress which stuck to its stand and said he would be back much before campaigning for Bihar polls gets underway.
While the BJP accused the Congress of "resorting to falsehood", the opposition party hit back asking it to focus more on the poll tussle among NDA allies in Bihar rather than Rahul's visit to the US.
BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao wondered if Rahul was "travelling back in time" as he cited the schedule of the The Aspen Institute to claim that its annual event 'Weekend with Charlie Rose' was held between June 25 and July 4.
"Congress is unable to give proper reason for Rahul's absence. Everyday they are trotting out a new story, coming out with a new fact that turns out to be false. It is resorting to apparent falsehood and lies to hide facts we don't know," he told reporters.
He claimed the institute's manager had stated that nobody by the name of the Congress leader had either attended its event or was scheduled to take part in the future.
Rao said Rahul was entitled to go on a personal visit but Congress should stop "lying" to "mislead" the country.
Taking a swipe at the BJP, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, "With defeat in Bihar staring in the face like in Delhi, BJP is presenting Mohan Bhagwat with his anti-reservation statement while one day it comes out with a new law for more reservation in Rajasthan."
The Congress leader insisted that the party Vice President had gone to the US to attend a conference 'Weekend with Charlie Rose' at Aspen Institute in Colorado.
The BJP and Congress are involved in a bitter war of words after the Congress leader left for the US, with the ruling party firing the first salvo derisively claiming he had been sent on a "forced vacation" as his Bihar allies believed that his presence would harm their chances in the assembly polls.
Rubbishing it, the Congress accused BJP of spreading "patent lies" and "petty canards".