Top Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "not invincible" with the former reminding the BJP about the defeat of the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004 despite the party's 'India Shining' campaign.
Without naming Modi, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, also called Modi an "arrogant" leader.
When Sonia Gandhi was asked to comment on BJP believing that Modi was invincible, she replied, "not at all...don't forget 2004... Vajpayeeji was invincible but we won", recalling the 'India Shining' campaign of the BJP.
Vajpayee, who headed the BJP-led NDA government, was defeated in 2004 by Sonia Gandhi-led Congress, despite predictions that he would win another term with his 'India Shining' campaign.
Rahul Gandhi also intensified his attack on the prime minister, a day after the Supreme Court agreed to hear review petitions on its Rafale verdict and said he was "not invincible" which will be proved after the Lok Sabha elections.
"There have been many many people in Indian history who have had the arrogance to believe that they are invincible that they are bigger than people of India.. Mr. Narendra Modi has done nothing for the people of India in the last 5 years. His invisibility will be in full view after election results," he said.
In a setback to the Centre, the Supreme Court Wednesday agreed to hear petitions for a review of its verdict in the Rafale fighter jet deal on the basis of "leaked" secret documents by dismissing its preliminary objections.
Buoyed by the apex court's decision, the Congress president once again challenged the prime minister for an open debate with him on the Rafale deal and said he was "ready to go to Race Course Road (PM's residence)" for it.
"I have to say to Modi ji give only one answer .. he can do whatever he feels like... I have done nothing wrong but let him give answer to one question why has the contract been given to Anil Ambani, whom he calls his friend, his brother and who has no experience in making aircraft," Rahul said when asked to comment on the continued attacks on him by the prime minister.
"He should also explain that now Supreme Court has started investigation.... he should also explain why French president said that Narendra Modi the Prime Minister of India told him that Rafale contract will be given to Anil," he said.
To another question, Rahul Gandhi said, "I am perfectly happy for Mr. Modi to take any action he wants on me ....he is in charge right now but I would also like Mr. Narendra Modi to answer three of four questions ...why the contract was given to Anil Ambani."
"I am ready for an open debate with Prime Minister whereever he wants... I will come to the Race Course Road .. and I challenge him for a debate on corruption. I guarantee you that the day there is a debate on corruption he will not see eye to eye with people of the country and it would be 'Doodh ka doodh and Pani ka pani'(made clear) and that day it will be known that Chowkidar chor hai," the Congress president added.
The Congress has alleged massive irregularities in the Rafale deal. The government and the Anil Ambani-owned company have strongly rejected allegations of irregularities.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)