New Delhi: Personal attacks on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi have sharpened as Congress leaders from outside the state targeted the CM in their campaign. While Mani Shankar Aiyar called him a 'Lahu Purush' (bloodman) over the 2002 Gujarat riots, another leader said he is a mouse.
For the first time this election campaign, Congress leaders singled out Narendra Modi for attack. At Porbander, Mani Shankar Aiyar likened Modi to Ravan and mockingly referred to him as 'Lahu Purush'. Elsewhere in Palanpur, Congress MP Hussain Dalvi said Modi was a rat and in Keshod, party MP Renuka Chaudhary made a reference to Modi's marriage.
Mani Shankar Aiyar said, "Modi is not an Iron Man (Loh Purush) but a ‘Lahu Purush’. He is a ‘Paani Purush’ and thrives on lies. He spends 25,000 dollars everyday for his image makeover." Renuka Chaudhary said, "A person who has not been sensitive to his own wife. How do you expect him to be sensitive to your needs and difficulties?" Hussain Dalvi said, "Modi compares himself with Sardar Patel. But in reality, he is nothing more than a rat."
As per the expectations, the BJP has reacted sharply, saying that Congress is hitting below the belt. This, even though, Modi himself has made personal attacks on the Gandhi family.
Purshottam Rupala, National Vice President, BJP, said, "Some Congress leaders have used low grade language today especially against Narendra Modi. This is unfortunate. I can't understand why Congress leaders can't think beyond blood. They are spoiling the festive atmosphere in the state.
But in Bajipura in South Gujarat, a different scene played out, with Congress general secretary Oscar Fernandez playing out a patriotic song with his mouth organ. Oscar Fernandez said, "Others believe in dividing people. Our party believes in uniting everybody and that will make us win."
A personal attack on Modi just before the 2007 assembly election had backfired on the Congress. Will that happen again this time around? The answers will be known on December 20, but the poll pitch is surely getting thriller as campaigning picks up for the Gujarat assembly elections.