In a brazen retaliation, Congress' Anand Sharma conceded Rajiv Gandhi's 'family vacations' furthermore stated how PM Narendra Modi would do the same if 'he had a family'
Sharma's statement came in response to Prime Minister Modi's allegations over the Gandhi family leveraging the Indian Navy's former flagship INS Viraat (now decommissioned) as their 'personal taxi', moreover accentuating how Rajiv Gandhi or any Prime Minister was entitled to take vacations, citing 'permissions and rights'
He said, "Rajiv Gandhi going in the INS carrier with his family, was very much within the rules and was his right. Any Prime Minister would do so, but this Prime Minister has no family. If he had a family, he would also be going there but he goes alone because he has connect with his family or respects any family values."
While addressing a rally at New Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, PM Narendra Modi accused the Gandhi family of misuing and insulting the warship to bring his in-laws for a vacation at an island.
He said, "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 were 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."
Moreover, he blamed the Gandhi family of putting the country's security at stake by using the INS Viraat, accusing them of exploiting their 'privileges'
He said, "Now, the question arises whether the security of the country was put at risk when the foreigners were taken onto India's warship. Or did it happen just because he was Rajiv Gandhi it was his in-laws who had come from Italy. Is that why they got these privileges?" he added.
As per a report shared by the Prime Minister, it was in 1988 that 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 of family and family friends also joined them on the island where lavish preparations were made.