Narendra Modi can divide people and go to any extent to become prime minister, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday, taking the BJP leader's name for the first time at a public rally this poll season.
"Modi PM banna chahta hai aur uske liye wo kuch bhi kar dega. Wo tukde tukde kar dega, wo ek ko dusre se lada dega (Modi wants to become PM and can do anything for it. He will cut to pieces, make people fight each other," Gandhi said at Balod, 90km southwest of Chhattisgarh capital Raipur.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi greets supporters during an election rally for nominated party candidates for the Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and Alipurduar constituencies at Siliguri. (HT Photo/Bikram Sashanker)
The Congress leader launched the direct attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime minister nominee a day ahead of polling for 91 seats in the third phase.
Taking a jibe at Modi, he further stated that in the BJP only one person knew everything. "He says make me a chowkidar (guard) and I will change the country. But chowkidar also steals."
Gandhi added that the Congress "wants crores of chowkidars" in the country. The gloves having come off, Gandhi also tore into Modi by brining up the names of LK Advani and Jaswant Singh.
"Just ask BJP's senior leaders LK Advani and Jaswant Singh how was the chowkidari done and what happened," he said.
The BJP has had to work hard to fight impressions that Modi's rise has reduced Advani's clout in the party. Singh was expelled after filing his nomination as an independent candidate from Barmer.
Attacking the "divisive" politics of the BJP, Gandhi said the Congress was a party of all castes, sects religion and region.
He also targeted the BJP for talking about women's empowerment and did not shy away from referring to 'snoopgate' - a controversy that erupted last year over the alleged trailing of a young woman by Gujarat Police at the behest of "saheb".
"In Chhattisgarh, tribal women are raped; in Karnataka, women are beaten; the Gujarat chief minister who talks about Gujarat model gets the phone of women tapped," Gandhi added.
Modi aide Amit Shah's name cropped up in connection with having ordered the police to trail a young woman at the behest of "saheb". Shah has termed it a Congress conspiracy. In his 22-minute speech he attempted to play pro-poor cards and strike an emotional chord with the farmers, labourers, tribals and women.
Chhattisgarh's Maoist-affected Bastar goes to polls on Thursday.