The political battle between the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party erupted in a new arena as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrived in San Francisco yesterday for a three-city US tour during which he interacted with Indian expatriates and is set to meet American lawmakers.
Addressing an audience in San Francisco, Rahul Gandhi said there are people in India who think they know more than God and PM Modi is "one such specimen". Union Minister Anurag Thakur hit back and said the Congress leader "couldn't digest" the praise and appreciation for the Prime Minister during his recent foreign visits.
Speaking at the 'Mohabbat Ki Dukaan' event organised by the Indian Overseas Congress USA, Rahul Gandhi said some people are "absolutely convinced" that they know everything and can explain history to historians, science to scientists and warfare to the army.
"The world is too big and complicated for any person to know everything. That is the disease...There is a group of people in India who are absolutely convinced they know everything. They think they know even more than God. They can sit with God and explain to him what's going on. And of course, our prime minister is one such specimen. If you sat Modiji with God, he will explain to God how the universe works and God will get confused about what I have created," said the Congress leader.
"They think they can explain history to historians, science to scientists and warfare to the army. But at the core of it is mediocrity. They're not ready to listen." he said.
"During his foreign visits, Rahul Gandhi insults India, which is unacceptable. He wants to insult PM Modi but ends up insulting India, questioning India's progress. He is trying to tarnish India at a time the world is acknowledging our growing stature," Thakur said.
Earlier on his arrival, Rahul Gandhi was received at the airport by Indian Overseas Congress chairperson Sam Pitroda and other members of the IOC. He had to wait for two hours at the airport for the immigration clearance, party sources said.
While he was waiting in the queue, several people who were travelling with him in the same flight clicked selfies with him.
When people asked him why he was standing in the queue, Rahul Gandhi replied, "I am a common man. I like it. I am no longer an MP." He had received a new ordinary passport after surrendering the old diplomatic passport issued to him when he was a member of parliament.
Responding to questions from the moderator and the audiences at an event at the Silicon Valley Campus of the University of California in Santa Cruz, Gandhi said he can clearly see "vulnerabilities" in the BJP.
"As a political entrepreneur, I can clearly see vulnerabilities in the BJP... The BJP can be defeated if the Opposition is aligned properly," he said.
Starting with San Francisco where he is scheduled to interact with students at the prestigious Stanford University, Rahul Gandhi will address a press conference and have meetings with lawmakers and think tanks in Washington DC.
The 52-year-old Congress leader is also likely to address Indian Americans and interact with Wall Street executives and university students during his week-long tour of the USA. He is slated to conclude his trip with a public gathering in New York on June 4. The interaction would take place at the Javits Center in New York.