Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted the 15-minute challenge thrown at him by Congress president Rahul Gandhi while addressing a gathering in poll-bound Karnataka on Tuesday.
But while doing so, the PM threw down the gauntlet at the 47-year-old Gandhi by challenging him to speak for the same duration on the achievements of his party in Karnataka without reading from a piece of paper.
Addressing supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Santhemarahalli, around 163 kilometres from Bengaluru, in Hindi, Modi also took a dig at Gandhi’s claim that the PM won’t be able to sit in the Parliament for 15 minutes were he allowed to speak.
“Congress ke adhyaksh ji aapne sahi kaha tha hum aapke samne nahi baith sakte. Aap namdar hai. Hum kamdaro ki kya haisiyat ki aapke aage baith payen. (You were right, Congress president, we, who bank on our work, cannot sit before you. After all, what is our stature that we dare to sit before you who bank on their names),” said Modi.
The 67-year-old PM added, “I challenge you (Rahul Gandhi) to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of your government in Karnataka without reading from any piece of paper. You can speak in Hindi, English or your mother’s mother tongue.”
During his three-day visit to Amethi, his parliamentary constituency, in the middle of April, Rahul Gandhi had said that he needs to speak for only 15 minutes in Lok Sabha and PM Modi will not be able to stand up to him.
He has been criticising the BJP over a series of issues including banking frauds, the Rafale deal and demonetisation.
Modi is campaigning for the BJP in the state which goes to polls on 12 May. He is slated to address 15 rallies over a period of five days starting today.