Accusing Rahul Gandhi of trying to "weaken" the country's resolve to fight COVID-19, the BJP on Wednesday said that the Congress leader has been acting in a "most irresponsible" manner and is trying to mislead the country with "falsehoods and misrepresentation of facts".
Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also sought to know from Gandhi if even Congress chief ministers listen to him as even they "do not" follow his suggestions on lockdown or on giving cash package to the poor.
Prasad cited comments made by Gandhi since the threat of coronavirus emerged in the country to allege that all the Congress leader has done is to demoralise people and indulge in politics while seeking publicity.
The BJP also released a booklet, titled "Who is trying to weaken India's fight against Covid?", to attack Gandhi. The booklet is a compilation of Gandhi's comments and also positive reports about the Modi government's efforts to combat the coronavirus.
Prasad told reporters that India, with a population of 137 crore, accounted for 4,345 deaths till May 26, while 15 other most coronavirus-affected countries outside China had suffered 3,43,562 fatalities.
The minister said he is not including China because many "questions" are being raised about it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown courage in the fight against coronavirus and has done so by uniting the country, he asserted.
Modi has always played on the front foot when it comes to the country's interests and will continue to do so, he added.
The former Congress president had claimed on Tuesday that the four-phase lockdown has "failed" in its purpose and taken a swipe at Modi, saying the prime minister is no longer playing on the front foot after lockdown "failed".
Gandhi first criticised Modi's call to people to clap or bang utensils to show their gratitude to emergency workers engaged in combating coronavirus, he spoke in a similar vein after the prime minister asked them to light lamps, he levelled "false" allegations about labourers being charged for travelling in 'Shramik' trains and then against ICMR, Prasad said.
The BJP leader claimed that Gandhi's allegations have been proved wrong.
"Since the nation started fighting coronavirus, he (Gandhi) has been trying to weaken the nation's resolve. He is acting in most irresponsible manner and is trying to mislead people by resorting to falsehoods and misrepresentation of facts," Prasad charged.
Gandhi's campaign is based on "spreading negativity", acting "against" the nation during the crisis and claiming false credit, he charged.
The Modi government, Prasad said, has spent Rs 52,000 crore in transferring direct cash and had announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package as soon as the lockdown started.
To a question, he said the BJP is not trying to topple the coalition government in Maharashtra which is afflicted by growing "internal differences" of its allies.
Taking a swipe at Gandhi, he said the Congress leader has "disowned" the state government even though his party is part of the government.
The Congress leader is running away from the failures of the Maharashtra government, he said.
The coronavirus situation is "worrisome" in Mumbai, which has emerged as a global "hotspot", Prasad said.
Even states where the Congress is in power don't take Gandhi seriously , he said, noting that many of them hiked oil prices while the Congress leader was asking the Centre to pass on the benefits of fall in international crude prices to consumers.
Asked about the migrants' crisis, he said everyone should come together to help them.
He declined to comment on some adverse observations of the Supreme Court on the way the Centre and states have handled the issue, saying as the Union law minister it will not be appropriate for him to do so.
He said the Centre will file its reply on the matter and added that the central and state governments are doing their best in these challenging times.