Union minister Anantkumar Hegde on Friday called Congress President Rahul Gandhi a “moron” for his claims that there is a new word in the English dictionary called “Modilie”, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This moron @RahulGandhi is hell bent on proving himself that he is one of his own kind of international idiotic skill master and hence the horizons have extended beyond the boundaries,” Kumar, the minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship, said on Twitter. “No one can prevent his growth....Amazing...!!!!”

On May 15, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, “There’s a new word in the English Dictionary. Attached is a snapshot of the entry.” He had attached a photoshopped screenshot of an entry for the word “Modilie” on a replica of the Oxford Dictionary website.

Replying to Gandhi’s tweet, Oxford Dictionary said the image he had shared was “fake” and the word “does not exist”.

The word “Modilie” is defined in Gandhi’s screenshot as: “to constantly Modify the truth”, “to lie incessantly and habitually” and “to lie without respite”. The word was listed as a noun. Sentences listed to show the usage of the word also had the words “Modiliar” and “Modilying”.

Gandhi and other Congress leaders have repeatedly accused the prime minister of lying on several matters, most prominently the Rafale fighter jet deal. Congress leaders have used the phrase “chowkidar chor hai” to criticise Modi during the election campaign. Modi refers to himself as “chowkidar” or watchman.

Meanwhile, Hegde has been asked for an explanation within 10 days by Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah for his controversial tweets about Nathuram Godse. He said he was glad that “today’s generation debates in a changed perceptional environment and gives good scope for the condemned to be heard upon”. Godse would have “finally felt happy with this debate”, the tweet added.

In response to another tweet calling for freedom of expression, Hegde wrote: “Time to assert and move away from being apologetic! If not now....When???”

He later deleted the tweets and said, “My Twitter account has been breached twice in the past one week and certain tweets have been posted on my timeline which has been discarded and deleted. Regret the posts attributed to me.”

Hegde is known for his controversial remarks. In 2017, he had claimed that secular people do not have an “identity of their parental blood”, and that the Constitution needs to be amended. He later apologised for the remarks.