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BJP, Congress spar over Sonia’s foreign travels

BJP, Congress spar over  Sonia’s foreign travels
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The war of words between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP], which was started by the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's comment on the Congress president Sonia Gandhi's foreign trips, escalated further on Tuesday.

As senior Congress leaders criticised Modi, the BJP alleged that instead of coming clean on money spent on Gandhi's treatment abroad the Congress was diverting attention by saying that the opposition should not raise issues pertaining to her health. 'We condemn the Congress approach of diverting attention and adding issues [to the controversy] which have not been raised by the Gujarat chief minister. He has very clearly quoted media sources and raised a question. If you are genuinely interested in answering the question, you would say give out the amount spent,' the BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Modi had on Monday alleged that according to a media report, Rs 1,880 crore were spent on travel and treatment of Gandhi. However, he had offered to tender a public apology hours after making the allegation if his charge was found to be false.

The Congress dismissed Modi's charge as falsehood and said that it was regrettable that the Gujarat chief minister had resorted to telling blatant lies which now stand exposed after the revelations made by the Hisar-based RTI activist Ramesh Sharma. The party spokesperson Manish Tiwari has said that Modi had made the allegation to divert the attention of the people of Gujarat from the real issues confronting the state.

Its leader Rajiv Shukla demanded an apology from Modi. He said, 'Modi should apologise to the nation and to the Gandhi family now that it is proved that his allegations on Soniaji's foreign visits and her treatment abroad are wrong.' He added, 'Not a single penny from government coffers was spent on Gandhi's treatment. Even the editor of the newspaper, which Modi quoted, has said that it is false.'

Meanwhile, the RTI activist Verma questioned Modi's claim that Rs 1880 crore were spent from state exchequer for Gandhi' foreign trips. He said that he never got any such reply from the government for the RTI query he had filed on the issue.
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