Launching a scathing attack on Narendra Modi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar said the BJP's prime minister nominee was talking rubbish and needed treatment in a mental hospital.
"Modi is talking senselessly about a Congress-free country. He needs to be treated in a good mental hospital, and we will ensure the treatment once the Lok Sabha elections are over," Pawar said on Sunday, soon after Modi blamed him for farmers' plight in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
The face-off came two months after rumours about Union agriculture minister Pawar meeting Modi triggered a buzz of new equations in the run-up to the general elections.
At a rally in Jalna district of the state, Pawar added Modi did not know about the sacrifices of Congress leaders in the freedom struggle.
On a whirlwind tour to Maharashtra, Modi on Sunday addressed two rallies in Vidarbha, plagued by drought and farmers' suicide, and alleged that Pawar was "unable to save" farmers even though he had time to talk about cricket. He also called for a Congress-free and NCP-free Maharasthra.
In his reply, Pawar, whose party is an ally of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, also said Modi was in a hurry to become the prime minister. But he would never succeed, Pawar added.
Reacting to Pawar's barb at Modi, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Monday said the NCP leader had become desperate since he could sense defeat of his party and the UPA in the Lok Sabha elections.