Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the Nehru-Gandhi family while addressing the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, and also questioned the Congress party’s commitment to democracy and its treatment of states from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the south to Punjab and Rajasthan.

“For decades, one party devoted all its energies to serving one family. The interests of the nation were overlooked just for the interest of one family. How can one of the leaders say India got democracy because of the Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru and the Congress party? Is this their reading of India’s history? What arrogance is this?” Modi said, adding, “This this is the same party that divided India.”

“Please look at our rich history. There are many examples of rich democratic traditions that date back centuries. Democracy is integral to this nation and is in our culture,” he said.

“When Rajiv Gandhi landed in Hyderabad, how did he behave with Congress leader T. Anjaiah? He humiliated a big leader who did not belong to a privileged background. How did the Congress act in Kerala? How did they treat the Akali Dal in Punjab? How did they behave in Tamil Nadu? Why did the Congress dismiss so many state governments at will? This is no commitment to democracy,” the Prime Minister said. “We cannot forget how the Congress insulted Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, a proud son of Andhra Pradesh. They humiliated him. Nobody in India needs lessons on democracy from the Congress party.”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Modi should answer questions and not always accuse the opposition. “He spoke for more than one hour, but didn’t speak a word on the Rafale deal, or on farmers or on employment for youth. It was a totally political speech,” Gandhi said while addressing the media.

Modi will address the Rajya Sabha later in the evening.