New Delhi: Snapping back at Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi for coming down heavily on Modi government over student protests in the country, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Gandhi is "shedding crocodile tears for political gains".

BJP leader Sitharaman's response comes after Gandhi, on December 16, accused the BJP-led alliance of seeking to divert the people's attention from its "failures" by creating "communal discord" and said that "suppression of youth and the students will prove to be the beginning of the end of Modi government."

In a statement, Gandhi referred to protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and accused "the government of being at war with its own people."

Hitting back, Sitharaman said in a statement that Gandhi's remarks are "irresponsible and motivated aiming at quick political gains."

"It is irresponsible because it accuses the Prime Minister and Home Minister of 'deliberately spreading unrest' and charges the Government of being 'the originator of violence'. As a responsible Opposition party, it is incumbent on Congress and Sonia Gandhi to call on all to maintain peace and calm and to ensure that the Congress party does not provoke violence," Sitharaman said.

"What the party has actually done is to keep the perpetrators of mob violence during the anti-Sikh violence in Delhi next to their leadership even as they speak about violence. This itself conveys the message of intending to provoke. Congress must remember that Citizenship (Amendment) Act is a law passed by both the Houses of Parliament," she added.

Sitharaman said that Sonia Gandhi is "shedding crocodile tears for students."

Sitharaman said that during the UPA regime, food inflation had reached double-digit, economic resources were beneficial only for the cronies and rampant corruption furthered poverty.

"It is unfortunate that the party which should be playing a responsible role in taking this country forward, is playing opportunistic politics," she said.