The Congress on Wednesday said its president Rahul Gandhi has not shown any disrespect towards JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda as stated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Hitting back, the party said it was Modi who 'disrespected' his two predecessors (Manmohan Singh and Gowda) and sought an apology from him for it.
"There is no disrespect expressed ever towards Deve Gowda by Rahul Gandhi ... it is not in the Congress culture to insult," deputy leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told reporters here.
Accusing the Prime Minister of assaulting the dignity of his office with his expressions and language, he said during campaign speeches he had said things that were not true.
"This government's very foundations are on false promises, lies, deceit, propaganda and boastful claims," he alleged adding PM Modi and his government were in the "departure lounge".
He said Congress knew Gowda was a very senior and respected leader.
"When Deve Gowda ji was prime Minister his government had the full support of the Congress party. Rahul Gandhi has not said anything derogatory about Shri Deve Gowda," he said.
Sharma alleged there was an "opportunistic understanding and unholy nexus" with the JDS that the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah had sought and created. That was the reason a question had been asked and criticism levelled, he said.
"In remarks that raised eyebrows in political circles," PM Modi addressing an election rally yesterday, had lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for 'insulting' Gowda, saying it showed his 'arrogance'.
Sharma insisted that PM Modi apologise for repeatedly insulting former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whom he described as "one of the most respected elders, leaders and statesmen."
The country had seen how "insulting and disrespectful" Modi had been towards Manmohan Singh in Parliament itself. "So let him apologise," the senior Congress leader said.
He recalled Gowda had in the run up to 2014 elections said he would take political sanyas if Modi became the Prime Minister. Modi had also said he would send Gowda to a "old age home," Sharma alleged.
"Let him also apologise to Deve Gowda ji ... Let the people of Karnataka know this Prime Minister has a forked tongue and basically he is a master in the art of "duplicity and hypocrisy," he added. Attacking the government on a host of issues including women's safety, farmer issues, bank fraud and Rafale deal, Sharma said, Modi should know the "time has come" and the countdown for BJP will start from Karnataka.
" ... he is in the departure lounge ; his government is in the departure lounge. People of India are not disappointed but fed up of untruth, lies, false promises and false claims, insulting the wisdom of the people and they are waiting to send them off," he charged.