In yet another reaction, following the sensational charge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on former PM Rajiv Gandhi and his in-laws of using Indian Naval ship INS Viraat (now decommissioned) as 'personal taxi', former Chief Minister of Assam and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi has said that why is the PM Modi talking about INS Viraat. 'It is too mean of him to do so', he added.
Talking to media on Thursday, Gogoi said:
"It is not an issue. First time I have seen taking holiday is an issue, it is too mean to talk about INS, it was 30-40 years ago, why he is not talking about unemployment, black money, issues faced by people of India, price rise, farmers issue, women safety, farmers distress, young men distress, businessmen's hardship, sufferings of entrepreneurs. He is not talking about problem women safety. He should talk about what he promised and how many promises he has fulfilled instead of going 30 40 years back. Everybody knows Rajiv Gandhi's contribution - who has brought computers, women representation in panchayat election, the field of education. In states of Assam, in Mizoram, in Punjab, everywhere he has contributed," Gogoi said.
On Wednesday, May 8, Prime Minister Modi in his mega rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi made strongest ever attack the Congress first family, alleging that in 1988, the Gandhi family had stationed the INS Viraat off the coast of the Lakshadweep island on which they were vacationing. Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, their children Rahul and Priyanka along with four of their friends, and a number their family friends also joined them on the island where lavish preparations were made.
Prime Minister claimed that the Nehru-Gandhi family misused and insulted the INS Viraat after former PM Rajiv Gandhi used the warship to bring his in-laws for their vacation at an island.
"Congress' naamdaar family had misused the pride of the country, INS Viraat, like its personal taxi. They had insulted it. This incident is of that time when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country and they had gone out on vacation for 10 days. During that time, INS Viraat was stationed to guard the maritime boundaries, but it was sent to bring the Gandhi family who was going on vacation. After that, INS Viraat had stopped at a special island with their entire family. It was there for 10 days. Among those who were holidaying with Rajiv Gandhi were his in-laws," PM Modi added.
Naval officer Commander VK Jaitly also backed PM Modi's claims saying that he was posted on INS Viraat at that time and had witnessed all of that.
Meanwhile, Congress president has not responded directly on INS Viraat charge by the PM but has said: "You want to talk about Rajiv Gandhi, you want to talk about me, you can talk all you want. But make the citizens understand what you did in the Rafale matter. You tell the citizens what happened about the promise of employment that you made to the two crore people."