The Bharatiya Janata Party has reacted sharply to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s comments and criticism of its prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modui and for dismissing the ‘Modi for PM’ campaign as “personality-oriented politics”.

On Wednesday, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley hit out at the Gandhi scion and said: “Mr. Gandhi has got the principle against personality centred party right; he has got his facts all wrong.”

In an interview to a newspaper Mr. Gandhi had commented that governments should not be run on the whims and fancies of a particular person, in reply to a question on the BJP’s focus on pitching Mr. Modi for the Prime Minister’s position.

Mr. Jaitely said the Congress is in itself an example of a party that is run on the whims of an individual.

Accusing Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of initiating dynastic rule in the Congress, he said: “…When he made Indira Gandhi President of the AICC in the late 1950s it was the beginning of Congress Party’s official acknowledgement that dynastic rule was ushering in. Many senior leaders were by-passed in order to enable the daughter of the Prime Minister to become the Party President.”

The BJP leader said Mrs. Gandhi’s personality that “dominated her politics” led to the Congress split in 1969. “In 1973 her attempt to undermine India’s judiciary became a part of the Congress’s ideology. In 1975 when Emergency was imposed, authoritarianism became a part of the Congress ideology. Institutional destruction was accepted as the Opposition, the Parliament, the media and the Judiciary were shown their place. ‘India is Indira and Indira is India’ was officially proclaimed by its AICC President as the Party’s slogan.”

Tracing Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Jaitley said:” …By 1987 defending and covering up scams became a part of the Party’s commitment. When the senior leadership was involved in trying to implicate Mr. VP Singh’s son in the fake St. Kitts case the whole party stood up for the fabrication. What better evidence does one need of the Party’s personality centric politics?”

Training his guns on the current AICC president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, the BJP leader said with her foray into politics, the Congress accepted the principle that a person of foreign origin can be the Prime Minister of India. “Rahul Gandhi’s decision to overrule the central Cabinet through his ‘non-sense’ comment was pointer to the fact an individual was taller than the party.”

Accusing the Congress of preferential treatment, he said: “In a structured party like the BJP or the Left, Rahul Gandhi would still have been struggling to get his first assignment as an office bearer in the Party structure or in a legislative body. It is only in a personality and family dominated set-up like the Congress that he can be nominated as the unquestioned supremo.”

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