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New Delhi: Giving a point-by-point rebuttal of Gandhi’s speech, senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman termed his address as the “rhetoric of a loser” and “devoid of substance.” “Rahul Gandhi’s speech sounds like rhetoric of loser devoid of substance. But although devoid of substance, will counter some points….  “Who are Pandavs, who are Kauravas… It (the Congress) is a party that chooses to mock Hindus and Hindu rituals,” she said.

Recalling the two warring sides of the epic Mahabharat, Gandhi on Sunday said the BJP, like the Kauravas, fought for power, while his party, on the lines of the Pandavas, battled for truth. “The party which questioned the fundamental existence of Shri Ram today wants to identify itself with Pandavas,” Sitharaman said, in an apparent reference to the Congress stand on the issue of construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

“I have never heard of a ‘Congress’ priest and a ‘BJP’ priest, but Rahul Gandhi has narrated a whole story on that, just a way to mock Hindus and Hinduism,” she said. Sitharaman also said that the Congress was responsible of anti-Sikh riots 1984 and accused the party of corruption. “This is a party which had to be thrown out of power because they were involved in Rs 12 lakh crore corruption,” she said. Taking on Gandhi over his attempt to link Modi with fugitives Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi, she termed it as “a fake narrative”.

“Mr Gandhi who himself is out on bail in the National Herald case shares a surname with the Father of the Nation, is that a reflection on the Mahatma,” Sitharaman said. Sitharaman spoke for several minutes on Gandhi’s scathing attack on the ruling BJP and its top leadership. She expressed shock at Gandhi’s calling BJP president Amit Shah a “murder accused”.

“It is astonishing that the Congress President chose to name BJP president Amit Shah and said that he is a murder accused. He has been cleared by a court. This is a fake and falsely motivated campaign by someone who himself is out on bail in a criminal conspiracy case,” said Sitharaman. Slamming Gandhi for his comments on recent loss suffered by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, she said: “Let us not miss the point… Congress (candidates) lost their deposits in these places.” She also replied to senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s jibe on RBI that it should learn to count money from Hundi collectors in Tirupati. Sitharaman said, “RBI should hire Congress for counting black money, as they are familiar with counting it”.

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