In the strongest ever attack at the Congress 'first family', Prime Minister Narendra Modi made sensational allegations against former PM Rajiv Gandhi by stating that the Indian Navy's former flagship INS Viraat (now decommissioned) was used by him and his in-laws as a "personal taxi", while addressing a rally at New Delhi's Ramlila Maidan.
Claiming that the Nehru-Gandhi family has 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 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," PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister further attacked the Gandhi family over using the INS Viraat by putting the country's security at risk.
"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.
Here are PM Modi's full remarks on the matter:
"The Congress' biggest Naamdar family, country's strength and pride INS Viraat, the Indian navy warship. INS Viraat was used as a taxi, used for personal vacation. It was insulted. This happened when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country. And they went on vacations for 10 days. At that time, INS Viraat was deployed to protect the maritime border. But that was sold for the Gandhi family's vacation. After that INS Viraat with the entire Gandhi family stopped at an island. Along with Rajiv Gandhi, his in-laws too went on the vacation. The question is, was it fair to take people from a foreign country on an Indian warship? Wasn't this a security threat to the nation or not? Wasn't it? Isn't this a threat? Or is it because he was Rajiv Gandhi and they were his in-laws? They came from Italy, they had all the freedom. This event of Naamdar family isn't talked about. The island Gandhi family went for vacations too, nobody was kept there to welcome them. That is why all the services were provided by the government and the navy. One army helicopter was there to protect them."
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.