Upping the ante further over cash ban, Rahul Gandhi today sensationally alleged he had information about "personal corruption" involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, days after claiming there will be an "earthquake" if he is allowed to speak on demonetisation in the Lok Sabha.
The allegation by the Congress Vice President was dismissed by the BJP as "false and baseless" and "very unfortunate" while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal dared Gandhi to "expose" the prime minister if he has documents at his disposal.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar while rejecting as "baseless" the allegation levelled against the prime minister said they were made out of "desperation" and "frustration" and asked Gandhi to apologise.
The allegation was levelled by a combative Gandhi at a joint news conference in Parliament premises with leaders from 15 other opposition parties after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day failing to break the continuing deadlock over demonetisation.
Gandhi claimed he has detailed information about alleged "personal corruption" by the prime minister and that the latter is personally terrified of him being allowed to speak inside Lok Sabha.
"The Prime Minister is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside Lok Sabha because I have information about the Prime Minister that is going to explode his balloon. And I am not being allowed to speak in the House," he said.
Asked what kind of information he has, the Congress Vice President said, "That information is personal information about Narendra Modiji which I want to state in Lok Sabha. It is personal corruption of the Prime Minister that I have, we have detailed information about. We want to present it, which the Prime Minister is not allowing us to speak."
Gandhi said the entire opposition wants a debate in Parliament and have discussed with the Speaker to allow it while dispensing all rules.
"Pretty much unconditionally we are ready to have a discussion, but the government is not interested in having a discussion. I have already said it before, the Prime Minister is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside the Lok Sabha," he said.
"The Prime Minister should stop taking alibis and he should come to the House and give all of us an opportunity to speak. Then the country should take a decision on whether the opposition or the Prime Minister is speaking the truth."
Kumar led the BJP's charge against Gandhi.
"Had he(Gandhi) any information, he would have said it by now. It is a baseless allegation. He is saying this out of frustration. Today they are saying they are not being allowed to speak. It is wrong because everyday Congress members are coming to the well of the House. Now they are making trying to spread rumour and baseless allegations," Kumar said.
Kumar's ministerial colleague Prakash Javadekar said only Congress and not government will be exposed when Rahul Gandhi speeks as it rejected his charge that the government was not letting him speak in Parliament, saying there cannot be a bigger "lie" than this. Another Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said Gandhi's allegation was the "biggest joke" of the year.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also waded into the fresh political spat, daring Gandhi to "expose" the prime minister if he has documents at his disposal, saying Congress and BJP indulge in such "friendly match" but do not make any disclosure.
"If Rahul Gandhi actually has papers on Modiji's personal involvement in corruption, then why doesn't he expose it outside Parliament?
"Friendly match - BJP says they have AgustaWestland against Congress. Cong says they have Sahara/Birla against BJP. Both don't disclose," the AAP chief said in a series of tweets.