New Delhi: In a sharper attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the LAC standoff in Ladakh is not simply a border dispute but a design by China to attack his image as a "56-inch strongman".
BJP president J P Nadda hit back at Gandhi, accusing him of indulging in "mudslinging" and describing his attack as another 'failed" edition of 'Project RG Relaunch'.
He also accused "one dynasty" of trying to weaken India and strengthen China.
Gandhi said the Chinese are trying to put pressure on PM Modi to act in a way they want him to, else they will destroy his strongman image, and so far he has been seen as one succumbing to it.
Attacking the Prime Minister for saying that China is not occupying any of Indian territory in Ladakh, the Congress leader said, Modi is defending his image by saying so.
"It is not simply a border issue. It is a border issue designed to put pressure on the Prime Minister of India. And they are thinking of putting pressure in a very particular way. And what they are doing, is that they are attacking his image.
"They understand that in order for Mr Narendra Modi to be an effective politician; in order for Mr Narendra Modi to survive as a politician, he has to protect the idea of 'Chhapan Inch'. And this is the real idea, the Chinese are attacking," Gandhi said in a short video while explaining China's strategic and tactical game plan.
The former Congress president said the Chinese are basically telling Modi that if he does not do what they say, they will destroy "the idea of Mr Narendra Modi as a strong leader".
Nadda hit back, saying, "We saw yet another (failed) edition of 'Project RG Relaunch' today. Rahul Gandhi Ji was, as usual, weak on facts and strong on mudslinging. Attempts to politicise defence and foreign policy matters show one dynasty's desperation to wash their past sins of 1962 and weaken India."
"For years, one dynasty has been trying to destroy PM Narendra Modi. Sadly for them, PM Modi's connect with 130 crore Indians is deep-rooted. He lives and works for them. Those who want to destroy him will end up only further destroying their own party," he said in a series of tweets.
"In recent years, be it Doklam or the present, Rahul Gandhi Ji prefers briefings from the Chinese instead of believing India's armed forces. Why does one dynasty want a weak India and a strong China? Many leaders in Congress also disapprove of one dynasty's shenanigans!
"Since the 1950s, China has made strategic investments in one dynasty that has given them rich dividends. Remember 1962, giving away of a UNSC seat, losing a lot of land to China in the UPA years, MoU Signed with much fanfare in 2008, funds to RGF and more," said Nadda.
The video is part of a series launched by Gandhi to explain his view on key issues before the country.
This is Rahul Gandhi's fresh attack on Prime Minister Modi, as he has been attacking him and his government over the handling of the border issue with China in Ladakh and has even accused the prime minister of having "surrendered" Indian territory to China.
The Congress leader said the Chinese don't do anything without thinking about it strategically and they have mapped the world in their thinking and they are trying to "shape the world" and "restructure the planet".
At the tactical level, he said the Chinese are trying to improve their position. "Whether it is Galwan, whether it's Demchok or whether it is Pangong Lake. The idea is to position themselves."
"They're disturbed by our highway, they want to make our highway redundant and if they are thinking on a larger scale, they want to do something with Pakistan in Kashmir," he also said in the video.