Congress on Thursday dared Narendra Modi to an open debate on his governance model in Gujarat, while rubbishing his attack on the UPA for the economic slowdown.
In a scathing attack on BJP on various issues, Union Minister Manish Tewari also accused it of practising "fascism" over the latter's tirade against Amartya Sen and wondered why the Opposition should "quibble" over poverty rate coming down.
"Gujarat Chief Minister is in the habit of making one or the other statement daily...If he is so confident of the governance model of Gujarat, he should come and debate it with us any day on a place and format of his choice.
"It will be crystal clear how much strength that governance model has...People of the country will judge...They would be able to sift the fact from the fiction," Tewari told reporters.
Tewari's reaction came a day after Modi alleged that lack of leadership and policy paralysis in UPA are responsible for the bad state of the economy.
To a question whether he was also challenging Modi for a debate on the issue of human rights violation in Gujarat, the Congress leader said that this is "something so open" and known that there is no need for a debate on it.
On BJP's charge that Planning Commission data showing a fall in the number of people living below the poverty line was a "conspiracy" to deprive the poor of the benefits of government schemes, Tewari said he was "amzed that any political party can really quibble over the rate poverty coming down".
"This is actually the difference of the ideologies. While UPA is of the belief that poverty should be removed from the country, BJP believes in removing the poor. Our belief is that hunger should go away. They believe those hungry should go away," the Union Minister said.
Justifying the Planning Commission data on poverty, Tewari said that they show that the reduction rate of poverty during UPA's term was much quicker than in the regime of non-UPA parties when the BJP-led NDA ruled for the maximum time.