Amid a raging row over Rafale, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the Congress of throwing muck and indulging in a campaign of slander and lies against him and of trying to form an "international alliance" to oust him.
He also slammed the main opposition party saying it has become so weak that it has to beg small parties to forge an alliance in the coming elections.
"What has happened to the 125-year-old Congress? We have decided to fight elections on the issue of development, but they want to fight the election by breaking the society. They want to capture power through mischief. They want to use a handful of people to spread falsehood and storm of lies to capture power," he said, without referring directly to the Rafale jets deal on which the Congress has raised several questions.
"Best wishes for their new path. But we are following the path of strong organisation," Modi said, addressing the 'Karyakarta Mahakumbh' in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.
The Prime Minister said the Congress was not succeeding in getting allies and even if they get one, "I don't see them succeeding".
"So they are trying to forge an alliance internationally. Now will a foreign country decide who will be the country's Prime Minister? After losing power, you have lost your balance," he said.
Modi said that there should have been something left in the grand old party "but nothing is left there. Now Congress has become a burden. And saving the country from the Congress is the democratic duty of the people."
He said it was time for the opposition to change itself.
"I came to politics in 2001. Before that I was a working for the Sangh (RSS). But since then you used all your power to abuse me. You left no stone unturned to defame me. But the more you threw muck on me, the lotus blossomed more and more. And the people have rejected your claims repeatedly.
"The more muck they (Congress) throw, more lotuses will bloom, in every booth, every block, every village, every city and every corner of the country."
The Prime Minister's stinging attack comes in the wake of Congress President Rahul Gandhi's sharp offensive against Modi, calling him a thief over the Rafale fighter deal after the former French President Francois Hollande's comment that the Indian government had pushed a private firm as the offset partner for Dassault Aviation.
Modi echoed his ministers and party leaders to allege that Rahul Gandhi was in conspiracy with Pakistan to topple him.
He alleged that the Congress had not done any introspection even after its shattering defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections because of the "arrogance" that the Prime Minister's post was reserved for the "family".
"This alliance is due to the fear of defeat. It is not for the betterment of the country.
"They have had so much arrogance that they would not have gone to smaller parties for alliances. But such is the condition that they have to beg for alliances now. If they would have done some introspection, then this condition of going and hugging, getting photographs clicked with leaders of parties, and begging for alliance would not have come.
"If destruction is written in their fate, then there is no need for us to cry."
He said the country was taking its place on global platforms. "The world is accepting India's iron will. I have come to tell you that elections are ahead and don't worry as our mantra of winning election is with us. We don't fight election with money and muscle power. But we win elections with people's power."
Accusing the Congress of doing vote-bank politics, Modi said they did not support the cause of triple talaq.
"Triple talaq is not accepted in many Islamic countries. But due to their vote bank politics here, even though their leader is a woman (Sonia Gandhi), they remained silent on the issue of supporting it."
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