On 24 July, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi should either apologise to External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, or face a defamation suit.
Gandhi had referred to Swaraj as a 'criminal' for her role in the Lalit Modi row.
An Economic Times report quoted Gadkari as saying, "This is a very insensitive and insulting comment against a foreign minister. He [Rahul Gandhi] should apologise in person and take back his words.
"Gadkari also reiterated the party's support for Sushma Swaraj and said Gandhi's charges of corruption against her were baseless.
Rahul Gandhi kicks off padyatra in AP to raise farmers' issues
Meanwhile, the Congress Vice President began his 10 km-long 'padyatra' in Anantpura in Andhra Pradesh to highlight the issues faced by farmers, MGNREGA workers and women's self-help groups.
Gandhi's visit, the first after the bifurcation of the state, is being seen as an effort to strengthen the party's base in the state.