A bitter war of words broke out between Narendra Modi and Jammu and Kashmir's first political family on Monday.
Modi was first off the blocks. Taking to Twitter, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prime ministerial nominee accused National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah and his family of "communalising" Jammu and Kashmir for the sake of politics.
Soon after Modi's attack, chief minister Omar Abdullah returned fire, saying, "We don't need a lecture from you (Modi) on secularism…Modi should learn secularism from Kashmiris."
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah is the father of incumbent CM Omar. His father late Sheikh Abdullah had also served the state as its CM.Video: Modi rakes up Kashmiri pandits issue, holds Abdullah family responsible
Earlier in the day, Modi, in a series of tweets, turned the heat on Farooq, who had said on Sunday that those who vote for the BJP's prime ministerial face should drown in the sea.
He had also said Kashmir would not be a part of a "communal India".
Farooq's remarks evoked a sharp response from Modi, who underlined the issue of migration of Kashmiri pundits and blamed the Abdullah family for the exodus.
"Due to communal politics of Abdullah family, Kashmiri Pandits were removed from their homes only due to their religion. Is this secularism?" Modi wrote on the micro-blogging site.
Hitting back for levelling "baseless allegations" against Farooq, Omar said, "The BJP is using the Kashmiri pandit issue for political mileage… They didn't leave Kashmir during Farooq Abdullah's government. They left Kashmir because of BJP and its partners. We all want Kashmiri pandits to return."
The verbal duel between Modi and the Abdullahs added a fresh chapter to the communalism versus secularism debate in a polarised election season when Modi had come under attack from all corners over the Gujarat riots under his watch as chief minister.
Modi also termed Farooq's Sunday statements "hilarious", saying "Dr. Abdullah should look at himself & his family in the mirror & see how they ruined J&K".
He wrote on Twitter, "We are secular not because the word was added in our Constitution. Secularism is in our blood..."
Modi also said "irresponsible" statements "by the likes of Dr. Abdullah cannot derail India's mission".
Defending his family, Omar tweeted, "Modi forgets that Sheikh Abdullah chose a secular India rather than Muslim Pakistan & then spent 2 decades incarcerated..."