Notwithstanding disapproval by top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders of his personal attacks on Sonia Gandhi, Gujarat Chief Minister Narender Modi on Friday kept up his tirade against the Congress chief, saying "No one would even rent out a house to her."
"Even before renting out a house, one asks the background of the tenant. I ask Congressmen, does anyone know about the life of Sonia Gandhi before she married Rajiv?" he said addressing his first election rally in Delhi going to polls on May 10.
"If one can't even rent out a house to her, how can we hand over the reins of the country to Gandhi?" he asked.
In the backdrop of Modi's statements earlier that Gandhi and her son Rahul would not get jobs even as clerks and drivers, senior BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and party chief Venkaiah Naidu, had disapproved them.
Modi described Congress as a 'burden on the country' and Gandhi as a 'burden on the Congress'.
"Gandhi can't even recite Vande Mataram without reading from a paper. She hasn't been able to learn this much in five years as leader of the opposition," he said.
The Gujarat chief minister said the motto of the Congress had degenerated from 'Vande Mataram' to 'Vande Mata-Rome' after Gandhi became its president.
"In this election, Congress is fighting the smallest number of Parliamentary seats this time. In Bihar, it has got just four seats," he said.
"When I meet my good friend Laloo Prasad Yadav, I will ask him why he gave Congress only four seats. He could have given it five seats," Modi said. "At least five people are needed for a funeral procession."
The remarks drew loud cheers from the sizeable crowd in Gujarati Chowk in Jehangirpuri in East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, which included many people of Gujarati origin.
"Gandhi asks us where were the BJP leaders when the country fought for its independence. I would like to remind her that the main purpose of the freedom struggle was to throw out foreign rulers," he said.
Modi accused the Nehru family of 'insulting' Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and B R Ambedkar after independence.
He said the ongoing Lok Sabha elections would determine the destiny of the country.
"This election is being fought on the issues of <I>Neta, Niti and Riti</I> (Leader, Policies and Tradition). You will have to decide whether you want your children to suffer like you did during 50 years of Congress rule," he said.
"Congress leaders promise that they will not let Delhi become another Gujarat. I say, you cannot do so even if you want. In my state, the life of every student is insured, water is available in even remote corners and girls can roam on the streets at midnight. Can Congress promise these in Delhi?" he asked.
Singer Ravinder Jain, who joined BJP recently, regaled the crowd with songs praising Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and deriding Sonia Gandhi. BJP candidate from East Delhi, Lal Bihari Tiwari, was also present on the occasion.