Congress on Friday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as being in grip of "Rahul phobia" and said he has made a "mockery of democracy" by making "petty- minded jibes" in his political speech on President's address in Parliament, never done in the past.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Prime Minister's speech was "devoid of substance" as he lost the opportunity of clearing doubts of people that were raised through questions posed by Congress and Rahul Gandhi, which he never answered.
"Prime Minister Shri Modi seems to be in the grip of what I can describe as 'Rahul phobia'. It is an acute disease. It has now attained the size of an epidemic as far as the BJP and the Prime Minister are concerned.
"In what has now become a characteristic habit of the Prime Minister, he again made a mockery of democracy and Parliament. In a response to President's address, this kind of political petty-fogging, petty-minded jives (rpt) jives is neither the culture nor the occasion, nor the manner and style sanctified and hallowed in the almost 70 years of Indian Democracy," he said.
Singhvi said merely because the Congress Vice President raises genuine concerns, as many as three senior Ministers jumped in to deflect questions asked to Modi.
"All that the Prime Minister did, in a speech 'devoid of substance', was that petty pointless attacking on Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party and the legacy of the Congress...We reject the reply of the Prime Minister as being misleading and giving no real answers," he said.
Singhvi said there have been many Prime Ministers, many political parties in power, there have been many acrimonious elections and there have been less acrimonious elections, but President's addresses or responses to them are not the occasion to give this kind of a petty political speeches.
"We are forced to say that the Prime Minister has yet again lost the opportunity to give substantive answers, to clear and assuage the genuine doubts of the people.
"The questions raised by Congress and by Rahul Gandhi are pointed questions of legitimate public concern and legitimate public interest and they stretch in the length and breadth of India," he said.
Singhvi also pointed out that the Prime Minister in his "political diatribe" did not mention a word about Rohith Vemula, Kanhaiya Kumar, about the behaviour of Delhi Police, about the 'lumpen' elements across the country linked to ABVP, and atrocities on Dalits and students.
"The PM should explain why he didn't apologise for the false speech of his HRD Minister in Parliament," he asked.