NEW DELHI: In a frontal attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday alleged that those who imposed Emergency, "bullied" the judiciary and insulted the Army were accusing him of destroying institutions.
The PM also hit back at the Congress over the Rafale issue, which has been repeatedly raised by its chief Rahul Gandhi, as he alleged that the Congress did not want the Indian Air Force to be strong and asked: "which companies are they bidding for that they are acting so shamefully".
He also accused the Congress of rendering the Army handicapped due to which it was not in a position to launch surgical strikes.
"I am levelling a serious allegation," he said in his reply in Lok Sabha to the debate on Motion of Thanks on the President's address.
"I want to say it on the floor of Parliament that the Indian National Congress doesn't want our armed forces to be strong. They don't want our security apparatus to be strong. Which companies are they bidding for that they are acting so shamefully," he said.
Modi's retort came hours after Gandhi, at a Congress event in Delhi, described him as a "darpok" (coward) and dared him to a five-minute face-to-face debate on issues such as Rafale and national security.
The Prime Minister said that the armed forces were adversely affected due to delay in procurements under the Congress rule and its personnel did not have bullet-proof jackets, proper shoes, communication equipment or even helmets.
"You had left the Army unarmed. It was not in a position to carry out surgical strikes," he said, adding it is a great disservice to the nation.
Modi wondered why advanced jets were not procured for 30 years when India's neighbours were equipping themselves with the latest weaponry.
"The nation will not forgive you for this sin," the prime minister said.
Taking a swipe at the Congress, he said, "They are surprised that there is a defence deal without kickbacks. They assume that a defence deal cannot happen without commission."
Modi also accused the Congress of insulting Army by calling its chief a "goonda".
Modi took potshots at attempts to cobble a grand alliance of opposition parties to take on the BJP, saying people do not want a "mahamilavat" (highly adulterated) government as they have seen how the NDA government which has a majority can deliver.
"Congress imposed Emergency, but they say Modi is destroying institutions. Congress insults Army, calls the Army chief a 'goonda' but they say Modi is destroying institutions," the PM said in a hard-hitting reply to a debate on motion of thanks to President's address in Lok Sabha.
"The Congress misused Article 356 to dismiss state governments several times. Indira Gandhi herself dismissed state governments 50 times," Modi said.
The Prime Minister said in a poll year, leaders have compulsions to make charges but lamented that while slamming Modi and BJP, some people "start attacking India".
He alleged that the opposition's ability to listen to the truth has diminished.
The Congress, he said, questioned the Election Commission and Electronic Voting Machines but is accusing him of destroying institutions.
"Congress bullies the judiciary but Modi is destroying institutions. Congress calls Planning Commission a bunch of jokers. But Modi is destroying institutions," Modi said.
He also took a dig at the recent opposition rally in Kolkata organised by the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
"People do not want a 'mahamilavat' (adulterated) government of those who assembled in Kolkata," he said.
"A government has to work for the people of India, a government has to be sensitive to the people's aspirations. There is no room for corruption.
"We speak the truth, be it in country or outside, in Parliament or outside but your ability to listen to truth has diminished," he said, targeting the opposition.
Modi said the Congress had left the Army handicapped and in such a case it was not in a position to carry out surgical strikes.
"Congress does not want our Air Force to become powerful. I am levelling a serious allegation," the Prime Minister said.
Hitting out at the Congress, Modi said for some BC stands for 'before Congress' and AD for 'after dynasty'.