In his strongest ever attack on Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday said that someone who "presided over massacre of citizens on the streets of Ahmedabad" shouldn't be the PM.
This is the first time that Singh has spoken so stringently against Modi who has regularly slammed the Prime Minister and his party during elections rallies and speeches.
"Without going into the credentials of anyone, I think it will be disastrous for the country to have Narendra Modi as the PM," said Singh during his first press conference in almost three years.
"If by strong prime minister you mean you preside over the massacre of innocents on the streets of Ahmedabad, that is not the kind of strength I will like to have."
Answering another query, he said that "I sincerely believe what Mr Narendra Modi is saying (about BJP coming to power) is not going to materialise"
Singh's comment drew sharp criticism from the BJP which has been criticising the government over poor performance and corruption charges against it.
BJP spokerperson Nirmala Sitharaman lashed out at the PM on Twitter saying that while he called Modi as "mass murderer" he absolved himself of corruption in UPA-I based on his reelection.
"Utterly disappointed -the PM in his Press Conf,alleges CM Gujarat. Courts have found no merit. On Coalgate even inter/gtn hasn't happened (sic)," posted Sitharaman.
Her colleague Shahnawaz Hussain also tweeted and alleged that while the PM said that "he always worked with honesty. However he did not say that his govt or party leaders worked with honesty".
"PM says @narendramodi becoming PM will be disastrous. Mr PM it was your 10 yrs that hv been disastrous for India & its people(sic)," said Hussain in a series of tweets.
The party also said that the PM's statement was a compilation of government ads.
The Prime Minister's press conference came just ahead of the general elections and after the drubbing the party faced in the recent assembly polls.
This was the second full-fledged press conference by Singh during the UPA-II and third in his entire 10 years span. He has, however, held interactions on board with journalists during his foreign visits.