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Indian PM Modi Mocks Political Rival Rahul Gandhi

  • Associated Press

FILE - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises in New Delhi, Nov. 16, 2016.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (December 22) derided his political rival Rahul Gandhi, a day after the vice president of main opposition Congress party accused the PM of receiving millions in kickbacks.

Gandhi on Wednesday (December 21) had alleged that two corporate houses paid rupees 520 million ($7.65 million) in unaccounted money to Modi in run up to 2014 parliament polls.

The prime minister, who was addressing a rally in poll-bound northern Uttar Pradesh state, took a jibe at the Gandhi scion for his recent remark, where the Congress vice-president had said there would be an earthquake if he was allowed to speak in the Parliament.

"From the time he [Rahul Gandhi] has learnt to speak and started speaking, there is no end to my joy. It was not clear in 2009, what's inside the packet. Now, it's apparent, what's there and what's not. There would have been an earthquake had he not spoken and the country would have taken 10 years to overcome its impact. But, good that he has started speaking, we now know that there's no chance of an earthquake," said Modi in Varanasi city.

Modi also took a pot shot at his predecessor Manmohan Singh for criticizing his dream of making India a cashless economy.

"He [Manmohan Singh] said how technology [digital transactions] can work in the country with 50 per cent people still poor. Now tell me bother; is he giving a report card of his own performance or mine? This 50 per cent poverty, whose legacy am I bearing?" added Modi.

Taking money from corporate houses is not a crime for political parties in India but any amount above rupees 20,000 should be through banking system.

Indian elections are largely fought on unaccounted money, which are donated by the big business house to the political parties.