Bharatiya Janata Party leader Khushbu Sundar, who was earlier in the Congress, was left defending herself on Saturday after an old tweet resurfaced in which she had linked the Modi surname to corruption.

The tweet came into prominence in the light of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi being sentenced to two years in jail in a defamation case for his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname on Thursday. On Friday, Gandhi was disqualified as an MP of the Lok Sabha on the basis of the conviction.

Opposition leaders have alleged that the action against Gandhi was politics of vendetta, while legal experts speaking to Scroll have opined that the Congress leaders comments did not defame all persons with the Modi surname.

On Saturday, Khushbu Sundar’s tweet posted in 2018 resurfaced, where she had referred to Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi – fugitive businessmen accused of fraud. “Modi means corruption,” Sundar had posted. “Let’s change the meaning of Modi to corruption...suits better.”

Her comments were similar to those allegedly made by Gandhi in a 2019 election rally in Karnataka, where he had said: “Why do all the thieves, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi, have Modi in their names?”

In defence of her tweet, Sundar told PTI on Saturday that she had made the comments when she was in the Congress. “ I was only following the leader and speaking the language of the party then,” she said.

Sundar also said that raking up her old tweets showed how desperate the Congress was. In a tweet, she claimed that there was a difference between alleging corruption and calling someone a thief. She also dared the Congress to file a case against her.

Meanwhile, at a press conference on Saturday, Gandhi asserted that he will not be intimidated by the actions against him and continue to ask questions about alleged links between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industrialist Gautam Adani. He claimed that he has been disqualified because the prime minister is afraid of him speaking about Adani in Parliament.

Opposition leaders have accused the prime minister of favouring Gautam Adani, the founder of the Adani Group. Shares of Adani firms have plummeted since January, when United States-based firm Hindenburg Research alleged that the conglomerate used offshore tax havens improperly and manipulated stock prices.