In a Facebook post, hours after a special discussion in Parliament on the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement, union minister Smriti Irani lashed out at Congress President Sonia Gandhi for what she called her "long, pitiable lament" over the loss of the control that the Nehru dynasty had wielded before her party's defeat in 2014. Mrs Gandhi she said, was bent upon proving that "blood is thicker than water".
In the leader’s opposition address Ms Irani was compared, which Smriti Irani said "smacked of a deeply self-righteous tone", with the "statesman-like position" voiced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech. Mrs Gandhi, the minister said, has failed the "test of leadership".
In his speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said corruption, poverty and illiteracy are the country's greatest challenges and called for special initiatives to end all such ills with the pledge of “We will do and surely do” ( Karenge Aur Kar Ke Rahenge) in the next five years.
"In 1942, the clarion call was 'Karenge Ya Marenge' (Do or Die). Today, it is 'Karenge Aur Kar Ke Rahenge.' The next five years should also be about 'Sankalp Se Siddhi', a resolve which will lead us to accomplishment," PM Modi said, in a speech that made no mention of the Congress or India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sonia Gandhi spoke of the role played by the Congress in the freedom struggle and attacked the BJP and its ideological mentor, the RSS, in her speech. There were people and organisations, she said, which had opposed the movement and played no role in the country getting freedom.
She also accused the BJP for what she called the politics of hate and communalism, saying she wondered if the "forces of darkness" were trying to destroy the roots of democracy.
The remarks inside the House the BJP did not protest lest it derailed the commemorative discussion. But Ms Irani took on the Congress President later in her post, saying Mrs Gandhi had used "expressions such as 'nafrat aur badle ki raajneeti' (politics of hate and revenge) totally out of context to vitiate the atmosphere in the House and made it seem like an election campaign speech."
PM Modi was forward-looking, positive, unifying and gracious in his address as he exhorted people to rise above all kinds of differences, including those created by politics, to forge ahead by fighting poverty, injustice and terrorism, said by the Minister.
"In contrast, Sonia Gandhi's speech lacked any passion or vision, bordering on the monotonous," Ms Irani said, accusing the Congress President of failing to rise above partisan considerations in her speech and focused too much on Jawaharlal Nehru and his stint in jail.