Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has ridiculed Sonia Gandhi's return as the Congress chief, likening the opposition party's three-month effort at choosing a president to the Hindi proverb "Khoda Pahad Nikli Chuhiya".
The proverb suggests a big effort for little gain. Literally, it means finding a mouse after digging a mountain. "That too a dead one," Khattar added.
The Congress was quick to hit back, saying the remark by the chief minister showed the "anti-woman" character of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and demanded an immediate apology.
"The chief minister's remarks are inappropriate, he stooped to the lowest level and it also shows the anti-women character of the BJP. We strongly condemn his remark and demand that he must immediately tender an apology," the Congress party tweeted.
Addressing a poll rally in Kharkhoda here on Sunday, Khattar launched a fierce attack on the Congress and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), asking the voters to show the door to these "family-based parties".
"These family-based parties are there in the state and in the Centre too, what kind of 'tamasha' these 'Parivarvad'-based parties are doing, you know it. Now, within the family too, fights are taking place. On one side is Pappu and on the other side Mummy," he said.
Khattar said the Congress took three months to look for a national president outside the Gandhi family, but in the end, chose the family again and Sonia Gandhi became the interim chief.
"It was Pappu Chaudhary, he said he will not remain party chief after the Congress lost the Lok Sabha polls and Rahul Baba resigned as party chief. He then ask his party to look for new party chief the outside Gandhi family. We thought it was a good thing that they were moving away from "parivarvad" (dynastic rule). After all, we should appreciate good thing of opponents too," he said.
"They started searching for national president throughout the country for three months and after that you know who became the chief--Sonia Gandhi. Again the same Gandhi family. 'Khoda Pahad, Nikli Chuhiya (much ado over nothing), woh bhi mari hui', this is their condition," the chief minister added.
Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev on Monday said Khattar's remarks against the Congress President are a clear reflection of his and the BJP's disrespectful attitude towards women.
"We in the Congress are committed to upholding the dignity in public life, But as a woman,I take offence to the disgraceful remark made and demand an unconditional apology," she said in a statement.
A week ago, Khattar at another poll rally in the state, had accused the Congress of sympathising with terrorists and said president Sonia Gandhi "sheds tears for militants".
In the Kharkhoda rally here on Sunday, Khattar also took potshots at the Congress, and said its former state unit chief Ashok Tanwar quit the party after levelling allegations that "tickets are being sold in the Congress".
He also took a dig at Congress over its manifesto.
"They have promised freebies for which Rs 1.25 lakh crore will be needed, which can never be fulfilled. They are making promises as if state's coffers are their 'Baap Ka Maal' (as if it is their father's property)," he said.
The JJP, which came into existence after a vertical split in the INLD, was also targeted by the chief minister.
"This party, Jhootee Jagda Party, will become the Jamanat Jabad Party as its candidates will lose badly," he said.
Targeting JJP leader Dushyant Chautala, he referred to him as "Gappu", saying he was only indulging in big talk and spreading lies.
Seeking votes for BJP candidate Meena Narwal, Khattar said the ruling outfit "gave clean and transparent administration and gave jobs on merit. We undertook equitable development without any regional bias.