Hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi dubbed the National Population Register (NPR) a tax on the poor, the BJP hit back by calling him the "biggest liar of 2019" for comments that it said have "embarrassed" people and his party.
Launching a broadside at the Congress leader, Union minister Prakash Javadekar claimed that the people are with the government on the new citizenship law and NPR.
The NPR does not involve any monetary transaction and its data is used to identify the poor so that government welfare schemes could reach the targeted people, he said.
A similar exercise was undertaken in 2010 as well, he added.
"When Rahul Gandhi was Congress president, he would say anything and speak lie all the time. Now he is no longer president but continues to speak lies. If there were a category of the liar of the year, he would be its recipient. His comments used to embarrass his family. His lies now embarrass his party and the entire country," Javadekar told reporters.
Earlier today, Rahul Gandhi renewed his party's attack on the BJP-led national coalition over the NRC and the NPR as an attack on the poor.
"Whether it is NRC and NPR, it is a tax on poor people of the country," Gandhi, 49, told reporters in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur.
"Demonetisation was a tax on poor people of the country. This too is the same thing. Go to the officer...poor people will go...show your papers...give bribe if your name is slightly wrong. Crores of money will go from the poor people to the same 15 people," Gandhi said.
Rahul Gandhi's effort to double down on not just the NRC but also the NPR is seen as hardening of the Congress' stand.