Referring to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's recent speech on the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Wednesday the prime minister got a woman to defend him in Parliament, provoking a sharp retort from Narendra Modi.
Referring to Modi as a prime minister who claimed to have a broad chest, Gandhi said, he had "run away" from a debate in Parliament on the issue.
The watchman with a 56-inch chest ran away and told a woman, Sitharaman ji, defend me. I won't be able to defend myself, defend me, he said at the rally.
For two and a half hours, the woman could not defend him. I had asked a straight question answer yes or no but she couldn't answer, he said, using the Hindi word mahila' for a woman.
Later in the speech, he accused the prime minister again of running away from the debate, but this time did not refer to the defence minister in the same manner.
In his public meeting later in the day in Agra, Modi reacted strongly to Gandhi's remark.
He said now the opposition is bent upon insulting a woman. This is an insult to the women in the country, he added.
He said Sitharaman defended the Rafale deal strongly.