Speaking to the press, Congress leader and parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi defended his “rape in India” remark made during a rally in Jharkhand on December 12.

“Narendra Modi had promised Make in India, but when we open the newspapers these days, all we see is rape in India,” Gandhi had said at an election rally in Godda, Jharkhand, on Thursday.

BJP leaders were furious over Gandhi’s remarks and demanded an apology.

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani asked in Parliament that the Congress leader be punished for his remark.

“He is politically using women as a tool for mocking his opponents,” Irani said. Other BJP leaders echoed Irani’s views.

Gandhi, addressing the press on Friday, said that the controversy has been stirred by the BJP to draw attention away from the important issue of the “burning of the North East that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have caused”.

“I’ll repeat what I said: Modi had said Make in India will happen. We thought when we open the newspapers we would read all about this, but all that we read today is about rape in India,” he said. “A BJP MLA raped a woman in Unnao. Her car was attacked, and Modi didn’t say a word about it. No actions were taken. There is no BJP-ruled state where women are not raped all the time.”

Gandhi also accused Modi of destroying India’s economy. “I met economist Raghuram Rajan, and he informed me that there is no talk of India in the economic circles in the United States and Europe. Even when they talk about India, all that gets mentioned are atrocities, division, and violence.”

“Modi must answer to the country on the issues of safety of women and the economy,” he said.

This is what Rahul Gandhi had said in his election rally in Godda, Jharkhand on December 12.

An old video clip of Modi calling Delhi the “rape capital of India” was shared by Gandhi on Twitter, as he had promised while speaking to the press.