Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday mounted several blistering attacks on the Modi government, from calling the saffron party "Kauravas" to accusing the Prime Minister of symbolising crony capitalism.
Recalling the two warring sides of the epic Mahabharat, Rahul said the BJP, like the Kauravas, fought for power, while his party, on the lines of the Pandavas, battled for truth.
He also attacked BJP president Amit Shah, calling him a "murder accused", and said people have accepted him and the "lying" BJP leadership which is "drunk with power".
Attacking Shah, Gandhi said,"Congress can never be like BJP. The people of this country will accept a man accused of murder as BJP president, but will never accept the same in Congress. BJP is voice of a organisation, while Congress is the voice of the nation."
The BJP hit back at the Congress chief, saying the party which questioned the "fundamental existence" of Lord Ram today wants to be identified itself with the Pandavas.
"The party which questioned the fundamental existence of Shri Ram today wants to identify itself with Pandavas," Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, in an apparent reference to the Congress stand on the issue of construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
Hitting back at the Congress chief over his attack on Amit Shah, Sitharaman said that it was astonishing that the Congress president chooses to make allegations against the BJP chief even though he has been cleared by a court.
"Gandhi himself is out on bail in Herald case, whereas our party President Amit Shahji, has been cleared by court," she said.
In his over 50-minute address, Gandhi said the Congress would have to change in the coming times if it wanted to lead the nation and workers and youths will help it do so.
Admitting the "failures" of the UPA government, he said in the last few years of the dispensation, "we didn't stand up to people's expectation and they felt let down by us".
Extending an olive branch to the workers and the youth, he said there was a need to change the organisation as workers have energy and strength to change the country, but there is a wall between them and leaders.
"My first job will be to break that wall...not with anger, but with love, giving respect to our senior leaders," he said, amid a thunderous cheering from the gallery.
"The second wall, perhaps the bigger, we can't break until we break the first. The second wall is between the country's youth and political system," he said.
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi's address, Sitharaman also said that the Congress president's address sounded like a loser's rhetoric devoid of substance.
On Congress' demand of going back to the old practice of paper ballots in future elections instead of EVMs, the Defence Minister said that the party did not believe in transparency.
"Congress is even questioning the EVMs at this time, they want ballot paper system. At a time when technology is making it simpler & more transparent, here is a party that is against it because they don't believe in transparency," she said.
WATCH NIRMALA SITHARAMAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE:
The Congress chief admitted that mistakes were committed during the last few years of the previous Congress-led UPA government and said they will not be repeated in future as the lessons were learnt.
"We all make mistakes, I commit it, so do you. But there is a difference between RSS and the BJP. We accept that yes, we committed mistake, but they don't accept, they won't listen," he said.
He claimed the whold world said demonetisation was a mistake. "Modi ji shed tears, but did not accept that he committed a mistake," he said.
Gandhi also said that there are two visions before the world today, American and Chinese. "My aim is to present an Indian vision to the world," he said.
Gandhi said India expects more from the Congress as it expects higher standard than any other party.
He said the Congress would not make such a mistake, but would accept it if it committed one. He said the BJP hurt crores of people due to note ban and the GST, which he described as 'Gabbar Singh Tax' and lakhs of people lost their jobs.
He cited a report that said India's GST has highest tax ceiling.
"They messed up its implementation. But not even once, Modi ji said he committed a small mistake....But we are human beings, we can make mistakes. They think they are not human beings, but something else. Perhaps Modi ji thinks he is an 'avatar' (incarnation) of the God," he said.