New Delhi, Feb 6: Taking an aggressive stand, Congress today hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for targeting the Gandhis, saying it was proud of the "family" and warned that any attempt "to separate them from the party" would attract a "befitting" reply.
The party's sharp retort came as its war of words with the government intensified ahead of the Budget session with Modi yesterday attacking Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, saying "one family" was disrupting Parliament to avenge defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and stalling bills aimed at benefiting the poor.
Congress senior spokesman Anand Sharma today said the party was proud of the "family" which was "integral" to it and the PM should refrain from provoking and insulting the principal opposition.
"It is a funny way of seeking co-operation by attacking the leadership of the Congress and we want to tell the Prime Minister one thing categorically that when he talks of our leadership or the family, we are proud of that and they are integral to the Congress," he told reporters.
Sharma told the Prime Minister that he and the BJP cannot separate the Indian National Congress and its leadership and "if you try to do so, we will be giving a befitting reply to the best of our ability and they must never be in doubt about that".
Asked whether the confrontation would escalate in the budget session in the backdrop of the Prime Minister's remarks, he said, "If that is what he wants, then it is most unfortunate for our democracy."
"He is the Prime Minister of the country. He should not provoke and insult the principal Opposition Party and then they say that he seeks co-operation," he said.
He also contended that it was "always due to the stubborn and confrontational attitude of the Prime Minister" that the proceedings in Parliament were stalled.
"We would like the Prime Minister not to continue with his confrontational attitude and he must answer our questions," Sharma said.