India election 2019: voting began on 11 April, and the final ballot will be cast on 19 May with results out on 23 May


Rahul Gandhi
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionMr Gandhi is the president of the main opposition Congress party

PM Modi targeted Rajiv Gandhi…again

Sign boards at the Mahagathbandhan rally

Supporters at the Mahagathbandhan rally

Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again accused former PM Rajiv Gandhi of wrongdoing – this time, he said Mr Gandhi and his family had used INS Viraat, a naval aircraft carrier, to take them to an island for a “family holiday”.

He alleged that the warship was diverted from its position protecting India’s maritime border to transport the family and stayed at the island at their disposal for 10 days in the 1980s. He also accused Mr Gandhi of using naval officers for personal security during that time.

Mr Modi made the comments on Wednesday during a campaign rally in Delhi. He also tweeted the accusation, attaching a magazine article from 1988 as proof.

The Gandhi family has not responded to the allegation as yet.

Why does this matter?

This is the second time this week Mr Modi has accused Rajiv Gandhi, the father of current Congress party president Rahul Gandhi. Earlier this week, he had said Rajiv Gandhi was the “number one corrupt” man in the country when he died.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber in 1991 during a campaign rally.

Mr Modi’s comments drew widespread criticism from various opposition leaders and commentators but he had refused to back down.

Rahul Gandhi’s only response had been a tweet in which he warned Mr Modi that his “karma” awaited him, before signing off with a hug.

His sister Priyanka Gandhi has been more combative though. In a tweet in Hindi she said, “The prime minister who seeks votes in the name of martyrs has insulted the martyrdom of a good and righteous man in a flurry of uncontrolled slurs. The people of Amethi [Rahul Gandhi’s constituency] will give him a reply, for whom Rajiv Gandhi gave his life. Mr Modi – the country never forgives those who cheat.”

However, the Gandhi family has not responded to Mr Modi’s latest allegation.

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