By offering to tender a public apology if his allegation that Rs 1880 crore has been spent from the public exchequer on Sonia Gandhi’s foreign trips is proven wrong, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has put the Congress party is in a fix.
Modi said a response given by the government to an RTI application of a youth of Hisar in Harayana, published in a newspaper on July 12 this year, was the basis for his claim.
However, Ramesh Verma, the activist told a TV channel that the details that the Gujarat CM attributed to him were not true.
According to Verma, in June, the CIC, based on his appeal, had asked PMO to reveal expenses of Gandhi's official tours. But those documents have not been shared with him till now, he added.
The Congress was quick to target Modi and dismissed his allegations as falsehood and irresponsible. “Time and again, he has attacked Congress leaders based on untruths and falsehood. You can't expect a man with that mindset to apologise," Union minister Kapil Sibal was quoted as saying by a news channel.
Hours later, Modi offered to tender a public apology if his allegation was found to be false. Modi alleged that Sonia Gandhi was getting all those facilities like a special flight, which are available only to the President and Prime Minister, from public funds though she was just an MP.
"I had said this thing based on the report of a newspaper. If my information is wrong, today I say that I will publicly accept this mistake", Modi said addressing a rally in Junagadh.
And so far, he said, the report has not been denied either by the government or Gandhi.
With Modi daring the Congress to prove him wrong, the Congress is in a tight spot and is under pressure to reveal details about the cost incurred in foreign travels by the party president.
Earlier, Modi had said, "To those Congress friends, who are accusing our government of uncontrolled expenditure, I want to ask: is it not true that on the foreign travels of the President of the Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, in the past three years, Rs 1,880 crore has been spent from the public exchequer."
"This clearly means that more than the total yearly budget of Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Rajkot Municipal Corporation combined has been spent only on the foreign trips of Sonia Gandhi and on her luxury hotel stays," he added.
"I want to ask the Delhi Sultanate what is the compulsion that they have to allow this uncontrolled spending of poor people of the country," Modi said.
"Has the Central government by protocol given special status of head of state to Sonia Gandhi?" he asked adding, "Wasn't this money spent from the state exchequer? From the money spent there, we can produce electricity for the whole Gujarat State."
Modi also called upon farmers to ask Gandhi to given an explanation on why no drought relief package has been cleared for Gujarat's Saurashtra region.
"We had submitted a memorandum to the Central government asking for an assistance of Rs 15,000 crore for scarcity relief," Modi said adding that farmers should raise the issue when Congress president is coming to the state.
Congress has selected Rajkot as the venue of the rally to be held by Gandhi, as the area is worst affected due to scanty rains and more than 15 farmers have committed suicide due to crop failure.
Congress plans to hold a massive farmer rally in Race Course Ground of Gujarat on October 3 in presence of Gandhi. State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia is already camping in Rajokt to make the farmers' rally of Gandhi a success.