Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday mocked Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying he keeps repeating things like a stuck gramophone but people would not accept his "childish" claims and "lies" against the government as they make "fun" of such remarks.
With the campaign for assembly elections in five states underway and the Lok Sabha polls less than six months away, he stressed on his development plank during a video interaction with BJP workers, asking them to go to people with a three-point agenda -- development, fast development and development for all.
To a question from a worker as to how they should respond to opposition leaders' "abuses" like calling him a scorpion -- an apparent reference to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's recent remarks, Modi said they were offering him what they had.
He was glad, the prime minister said, that he was of any use to them as it allows them to vent their anger and spend their time "happily" with their family members in an evening.
Citing an anonymous RSS functionary's comments to a journalist, Tharoor had said that Modi was like a scorpion sitting on a Shivlinga which can neither be removed from hand nor hit with a chappal.
Modi, however, made fun of Gandhi when a party worker asked him as to how they should respond to the Congress president's comments in his rallies that there should be mobile manufacturing factories in the areas he visits.
"There used to be gramophone records earlier. At times, it would get stuck and play the same words again and again. There are some people like it. One thing occupies their mind and they keep repeating it. You should enjoy it. Don't get tense," he told BJP workers.
These people don't know that time has changed and they should not treat people as fools, Modi said, adding that nobody accepts such childish remarks. People make fun of it, he said.
India has become a leading manufacturer of mobiles with over 100 factories producing them now under his government compared to only two that existed when he came to power in 2014, Modi said.
He wondered if mobile was invented after he became prime minister as he attacked the previous government.
Modi also targeted Gandhi without naming him over his recent criticism of the central government on the issue of OROP (One Rank One Pension) for ex-servicemen.
Congress governments were in power for decades and soldiers kept demanding OROP, he said, adding that they were not even heard.
Since his government has implemented it so his rivals were concerned over ex-servicemen's "love" for him and repeating "lies after lies", he said.
Modi claimed that "lies" of Congress leaders against the BJP and its governments on certain issues indicated his dispensation's success as he referred to his "digital India" campaign which, he added, had made lives easier for crores of people by letting them avail of government benefits sitting at home.
Opposition leaders offered him abuses as this is what they had, he said, exhorting BJP workers to spread the "qualities" the party is known for -- love, hard work and sacrifice.
The more dirt they throw at the BJP, the more lotus (BJP's electoral symbol) will bloom, he said.
He asked BJP workers in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan to inform the masses about the development work the party's government had done in these states and also told them to remind the people about the poor governance when the opposition was in power.
Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the two states where the BJP has been in power for 15 years, are no longer "bimaru" (sick) states, he said, adding that all the three states have reached new heights of development under the party's rule.
He also asked the party's workers to run a campaign asking people to donate anywhere between Rs 5 and Rs 1,000 to the BJP through the Narendra Modi app.
Modi described the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which he had inaugurated in Gujarat earlier in the day, as a work that will make coming generations proud.
The current generation may not evaluate it, he said, adding that people now appreciate the enormity of Patel's work of uniting the country at a time when quarrels erupt over small issues such as language and food.
The prime minister also spoke about his joy at seeing his dream realised following the inauguration of the statue.
While opposition parties treated the poor like a vote bank, the BJP believed in empowering them so that they can pull themselves out of poverty, he said.
The p\Rrime minister asked workers to popularise government schemes and its benefits through the use of mobile technology.
He told booth workers to compare the achievements of his government with the past governments in terms of the welfare of people through initiatives such as houses constructed, new electricity and gas connections provided, and new infrastructure built.
(With inputs from agencies.)