NEW DELHI, June 15 � The Lalit Modi controversy today snowballed into a major political storm with the Congress bringing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the line of fire with Rahul Gandhi accusing him of protecting the former IPL boss and demanding immediate sacking of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, reports PTI.
Taking the party�s attack on Modi to a new level, the Congress vice president described Lalit Modi as a �symbol� of black money and said the Prime Minister was �standing� behind Modi, while asking him to �stop protecting� him.
Battling its first major embarrassment since it came to power a little over a year ago, the government, which came out with a strong defence of Swaraj yesterday, fielded Union Minister Prakash Javadekar who pooh-poohed Congress� allegations of proximity between the Prime Minister and Lalit Modi.
He also rejected Gandhi�s demand for sacking Swaraj, saying it was illogical and did not deserve a response.
First at an AICC briefing, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala brought the Prime Minister in the line of fire, accusing Swaraj, the BJP and the entire government of �aiding and abetting� a fugitive with the �tacit approval� of the PM. �The needle of suspicion rests at the door of PM.�
Gandhi, who is on a tour of Chhattisgarh, tweeted, �There is only one man running this country and government, that is Narendra Modi; Modi should stop protecting Lalit Modi. It is not a question of Sushmaji resigning, PM Modiji should sack Sushma Swarajji from the government.�
�Lalit Modi is a symbol of black money. Mr Modi is standing behind Mr Modi. Who�s Sushma Swarajji? She means nothing in this government,� he said.
Replying to a question about the BJP standing behind Swaraj, Gandhi told reporters, �Of course, the party will stand behind Sushma Swarajji. The party is Mr Modi. Mr Modi is standing behind Mr Modi.�
Other opposition parties also joined the fray in attacking the BJP-led government.