Congress leader and former Union minister Gurudas Kamat on Tuesday made a scathing attack on Narendra Modi, saying the Prime Minister was "still married" and had "deserted" his wife. The BJP promptly ticked him off, saying he has "lost his mental balance".
Kamat termed it "a shame" that Modi had deserted his wife of over four decades.
"He is still married, they are not divorced... he has deserted her. Jashodaben is a great woman. She is praying for him in temples," he said.
The Congress leader further said that in contrast, Modi has made a new woman like Smriti Irani a cabinet minister, given her full security and also a bungalow.
"But his wife, who is a village school teacher, is languishing and travels in public buses and autorickshaws, with the SPG following her in vehicles," Kamat said at a Congress protest rally against the Maharashtra government and the municipal corporation of greater Mumbai over his various public demands.
He said Modi fought many elections but kept his marital status secret. For the first time in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he admitted he was married.
"This is because the whole country and the Election Commission was keeping a watch on it as he could have faced problems. What message is being conveyed to the nation? Get married and then desert your wife?" Kamat demanded.
He questioned the special treatment being meted out to Irani while Jashodaben was left uncared for by Modi and his family.
"They talk about 'Beti Bachao' (Save the Girl Child) and 'Ghar Wapasi' (Homecoming). It should begin at home, first he should ensure 'ghar wapasi' of his wife," Kamat said.
The comments evoked sharp reactions from various BJP leaders, with legislator Atul Bhatkalkar ticking him off for losing his "mental balance".
"Kamat has lost his mental balance. The Congress and its leaders have lost their sanity after losing several recent elections. This is why they keep making personal attacks on the prime minister," Bhatkalkar said.
In the first rally against the BJP-led state government after losing the October assembly elections, hundreds of activists of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee led by president Janardhan Thakur protested what they termed "anti-people policies" of the state and the civic body.
They also released a 15-point charter of demands on housing, transportation, civic amenities, infrastructure facilities, slum-dwellers' problems, tax rates etc.