Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday trained guns at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying he was "burdened" with "Bofors sins" of his late father and therefore wrongly accusing others of corruption.
Launching a blistering attack on Congress, he accused the country's oldest political party of "playing games" in defence deals when in power.
Addressing a poll rally here, Modi, without naming Gandhi, equated him to a cunning "pickpocket", who himself screams "chor, chor" and joins the crowd after getting caught in the act to confuse others.
Referring to the Vajpayee government's decision to buy coffins to carry mortal remains of martyrs, Modi said Congress had unnecessarily targeted honest people like Vajpayee and Fernandes over the issue and not allowed Parliament to function for weeks.
"Atalji's government had allowed to bring bodies of martyrs to their homes in coffins to give opportunity to the people to honour those who give up their lives (on borders).
"Caskets were purchased under George Fernandes' watch for the martyrs. But the Congress did not spare even honest individuals like Atalji and Fernandes. Kept speaking lies. Boycotted Fernandes in Parliament. Humiliated him. It is their old habit. The same thing they tried with Parrikar," he said.
After the meeting, Gandhi claimed Parrikar had spoken about the Rafale deal, a claim rejected by the late CM.
"The entire country saw, Naamdar (dynast) went to enquire about well-being of Parrikar, but spoke such a lie that none could imagine.
"When Manohar ji was battling for life, in such a situation, he had to come out to clarify to those who were lying. A big lie was caught, but there was no trace of remorse on their face. And because of such a lie, people do not trust them," the prime minister said.
The PM then referred to the controversial Bofors deal of mid-1980s to target the Congress president, who has repeatedly alleged corruption in the Rs 58,000-crore Rafale deal signed by the NDA government.
"I wonder why they speak so many lies. Perhaps he is burdened with his father's (late Rajiv Gandhi) sins of Bofors. And to wash it off, committing the sin of imposing sins on others.
"You may get reins of party in legacy, but from where will you create credibility in the hearts of 125 crore countrymen? Congress can stoop to any level for power," Modi alleged.
The Bofors defence deal was believed to be one of primary reasons for the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress's defeat in the 1989 Lok Sabha polls.
Modi said every defence deal signed by the Congress government was suspicious.
"The Congress played such games in defence deals...(that) there was no defence deal during Congress's regime which was not suspicious.
"They took 'dalali' (commission) in Bofors. Agent Quattrocchi 'mama' was allowed to escape. As a result, our Army could not get a single (Howitzer) gun. Because no one wanted to be partner in Congress's sins," he said.
The PM accused the Congress of delaying the Rafale deal, which was finalised after the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre in May 2014.
"When the force proposed to purchase Rafale jets, it saw some progress during Atalji's tenure. The close agents of Naamdar family of Congress got involved in it later.
"The result was that the deal got stuck for years and the strength of forces reduced. Before 2014, amid atmosphere filled with scams, Congress closed the box of Rafale deal (put it in the cold storage)," he said.
Modi said the Congress had no clue that wrongdoings in defence deals signed under its watch will come out when a "chowkidar" (watchman) takes charge.
"There was graft in the VVIP chopper deal too. Same trick was used as in Bofors. Agents like Michelle mama were allowed to escape.
"They thought this matter too would get under carpet like it happened after Quattrocchi was allowed to run. They had no clue that a chowkidar will come and bring back the agents they allowed to run away, even from 'paatal' (underground)," Modi said.
The "truth" about dubious deals is coming out, he said.
"The truth is now coming out... How much the family got is coming to the fore. They have been master of how to hide their chicanery...even magician Sarkar won't be able to do it," the prime minister said.
"After 15 years, they got a chance in Madhya Pradesh. It has been only a few days of their government there, but they have engaged in loot," he said.
Goa, which has two Lok Sabha seats, will vote on April 23.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)