New Delhi/Rae Bareli: BJP leader Arun Jaitley Monday accused Priyanka Gandhi of lowering quality of political debate by her remarks about "panic-stricken rats" for his party after it accused her husband of corruption but she dismissed the charge as a "gift she chose to reject".
Priyanka Gandhi with her kids. File pic
Jaitley's response came a day after Gandhi reacted strongly in response to a video launched by the Bharatiya Janata Party alleging her husband Robert Vadra made a "Rs.300 crore empire" out of "fraudalent" land deals.
"(Priyanka Gandhi) Vadra has compared the BJP to 'the panic-stricken rats'... She has lowered the quality of political discourse by her comments," Jaitley said in a blog post published Monday.
"The Vadras are right that they need not be scared of anyone. They should only be scared of the law. Be the Vadras be ever so high, the law is above them," he said.
Gandhi termed the opposition's criticism a "gift" that she chose to reject.
"Buddha said you can choose the gift you want to receive. If they choose to give me those gifts, I can choose to reject. If I reject them, it's theirs, not mine," she told TV channel Times Now on Monday while doing a road show in Rae Bareli for her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman meanwhile questioned Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's silence over the allegations against Robert Vadra.
"Vadra land deals happened in Congress-ruled Haryana and Rajasthan. Why is the Congress president and vice-president silent on the issue," she said.
On the other hand, the Congress too stepped up attack on the BJP accusing its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of giving "protection" to alleged "hawala kingpin", whose house and office in Surat were searched by the Enforcement Directorate last month.
Congress party spokesman Randeep Surjewala alleged that the "hawala kingpin" was a "well-known BJP supporter and protege" of Modi.
The ED March 22 raided the house and office of the said "kingpin", reportedly a diamond trader by profession, and claimed to have unearthed a hawala racket worth approximately Rs.700 crore.
The Congress initiative is being seen as a counter to the BJP's video launch on Sunday. The BJP had also released a six-page booklet - "Damad shree the Vadra 'get-rich-quick' model".
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad had asked the Gandhis to explain the "Robert Vadra model of development" when "there is so much unemployment and economy was down".
The video telecast had drawn forceful a counter-offensive by Priyanka Gandhi.
"Let them do more such smear campaigns. I will not keep quiet. I will keep raising my voice against their negative, destructive and shameful politics," she said after an election rally in Rae Bareli Sunday.