Asserting that the Supreme Court has exposed Rahul Gandhi's "lie" on the Rafale deal, the BJP Monday urged the Election Commission to take "serious cognisance" of his comments, claiming that the Congress chief stands "guilty" of violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
While the Congress said it will provide a "comprehensive and strong" explanation to the court and accused the BJP of distorting Gandhi's comments, BJP president Amit Shah led his party's all out attack on him.
The ruling party's broadside against Gandhi came after the Supreme Court directed the Congress chief to give an explanation by April 22 for "incorrectly" attributing his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi to its verdict in the Rafale review petitions last week.
Shah said it has become the nature of the opposition party to tell a lie repeatedly.
"The Supreme Court heard the (Rafale) case on a preliminary technical objection. It passed its order, and Rahul baba started saying the Supreme Court had rebuked the government on the Rafale issue. In reality, no such thing happened," he said addressing a rally in Gujarat.
The BJP fielded its senior leaders and Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad in two separate press conferences to target Gandhi after the apex court said it will consider the criminal contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi against the Congress chief.
The apex court also made it clear that views attributed to it in the remarks made by Gandhi in public have been "incorrectly attributed" to it.
On April 10, the Supreme Court had set aside the government's objection to certain documents filed by petitioners seeking a review of its Rafale deal verdict, which had ruled out a probe into the purchase of the fighter aircraft.
"The Supreme Court has exposed Gandhi's lie. He lies daily and one of those lies has been exposed," Javadekar told reporters.
Prasad said the Supreme Court's observations and notice to Gandhi "reinforces" the need for the Election Commission to take serious cognisance of his baseless allegations against Modi.
The BJP had last week filed an application with the election watchdog, seeking action against Gandhi for his comments.
Asserting that Gandhi stands guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct, Prasad said he not only levelled "untrue allegations" but also used a constitutional body like the Supreme Court for political purpose.
"If Gandhi is left with even an iota of shame, then he should apologise... He has taken Indian politics to a new low," he said.
The Congress sought to play down the development in the court, saying it has issued a notice but the BJP is citing it as a final verdict.
"We will give a comprehensive and strong explanation. The BJP is trying to distort Gandhi's comments even though his intent was not to hurt anyone. The interpretation given by the BJP is certainly objectionable," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters.
Hitting out at the BJP, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal claimed that Modi had cited the court's order on the Rafale review petition to assert that his government has been given a clean chit in the deal.
In its December 2018 verdict, the Supreme Court had said there is no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal with France, as it had rejected the demand for a probe. Citing new documents and disclosure, some petitioners have filed a review plea.
Reacting to the Congress' claim that Gandhi's comments were distorted, Prasad took a swipe at the party, saying that it had sought evidence of what happened during the Balakot air strike, but does not accept what its president said in public.
The BJP also played a video of Gandhi's comments at the press conference.
Accusing Gandhi of repeatedly "denigrating" constitutional institutions, Prasad said the Congress alleges that the Constitution is under threat in the Modi government, but it should answer as to who is making a mockery of it.
Javadekar said the Congress and the Gandhi family cannot accept that Modi has run an honest government while the UPA dispensation was "mired in scams and scandals".
Taking a dig at the Congress president, the BJP leader said people earlier believed that Gandhi used to make wrong statements due to his lack of understanding, but it was clear now that he was doing "deliberate mischiefs".
"Indian democracy does not permit them (dynasts) to rewrite Court orders... To manufacture a Court order for a political propaganda is a new low for Rahul Gandhi. The lower he sinks, the higher we rise," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)