Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a swipe at BJP candidate Uma Bharti, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister who is contesting from Charkhari in UP's Bundelkhand.
In Kulpahad, a hilly, small town, he asked: "Someone thrown out of MP is contesting from here. Where was she when Bundelkhand was battling its worst drought? She is from nearby, why didn't she come to wipe the tears of helpless people?"
Uma Bharti was unrelenting in response.
"Sonia Gandhi came from Italy and has been accepted in India. If Italy's Sonia was accepted in India, I am only from Madhya Pradesh. Rahul should remember the background of his mother," she said in Delhi. "Now that guru-chela (mentor-disciple) are in UP, I will repeat what I had done to him (Digvijaya Singh) in Madhya Pradesh."
The BJP under Uma Bharti had ousted the Digvijaya Singh government in MP in 2003.
Though the Charkhari constituency is dominated by Lodhs, the caste to which Bharti belongs, the Congress has fielded a non-Lodh candidate.
Bharti belongs to the MP part of the Bundelkhand region, which straddles both the states.
Gandhi also hit out at the BSP, which won the seat in the last election, stressing the package his party brought for the region, plagued by drought and farmer suicides. In his meetings Gandhi told people corruption in government came in the way of benefits of the package reaching them.
(With inputs from New Delhi)