New Delhi: 

Congress leader Sam Pitroda Monday reacted strongly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that former PM Rajiv Gandhi died as “corrupt number 1”, and said he cannot believe that a man from the land of Mahatma Gandhi would go to this level.

At a rally in Uttar Pradesh Saturday, PM Modi targeted Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying, “Your father was termed Mr Clean by his courtiers, but his life ended as bhrashtachari no 1 (corrupt number 1),” PM Modi had said.

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On Monday, Mr Pitroda told a press conference, “I cannot believe that a man from Mahatma Gandhi’s soil Gujarat would go to that level and make a comment on someone who died with great honour.”

Mahatma Gandhi was born in the coastal town of Porbandar in Gujarat on October 2, 1869. Prime Minister Modi also hails from the state.

Mr Pitroda, a longtime Gandhi family adviser and the Indian Overseas Congress chief, also said, “I had the privilege of working with Rajiv Gandhi when he was (party’s) General Secretary and then when he was the prime minister. I just want people to remember that all the modern technology — including cellphones – that we enjoy today came during the Rajiv Gandhi era.”

He added that it was Rajiv Gandhi’s political will that gave meaning to “my life and the work I did in India”.

Mr Pitroda is credited with being the architect of the telecom revolution in India under Rajiv Gandhi.

“I am convinced that Mr Modi is all shaken up based on the results of the first four phases (of Lok Sabha polls). He will be more shaken up based on the results of the fifth phase. At the end of the day, he really doesn’t have much to talk about in terms of accomplishments,” Mr Pitroda said.

“As opposed to talking about your performance, they go attack people like Rajiv Gandhi. What a shame that you have to get to that level…I am very upset that a prime minister from Mahatma Gandhi’s soil would go to this level,” he added.