Wading into Congress affairs, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday targeted Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, saying the party wanted to make him chief minister, but had no courage to declare it openly.
Patel had asserted on Saturday, in response to Modi's earlier insinuations, that he was not interested in becoming the chief minister of Gujarat.
In his election rallies in the state today, Modi said, "Ahmed Patel has been saying for past two days that he is not interested in becoming CM... What was the need to say this and why come to Gujarat to say this?
"What it means is Congress...and all those who have entered the arena to help Congress win, want to make Ahmed Patel the CM, yet, Congress does not have the courage to tell so to the people."
Two days ago, Modi had said: "Why are they not declaring that they have decided to make Ahmed Patel the chief minister? Why all these games behind the scenes? They should declare all these things."
Patel had on Saturday issued a statement, saying that he had no such ambition. He had also dubbed Modi's statement as one made by a "dejected and frustrated" person.
Modi's attack on Patel is also being seen as an attempt to aggravate internal rumblings in Congress over seat selection.
Modi went on to say that Gujarat Assembly elections will give a new direction to the country.
"After a decade (as chief minister), I can say that the country has realised that road of vote bank politics was leading to destruction, while the politics of development is the right path.
"When Congress will lose these elections badly as they had never before, people of other states and the entire world will realise that people of Gujarat have given a new direction to the country," Modi said.
"Congress not only failed when they were in power, but also have failed as an opposition, due to which it will be defeated in the upcoming elections.
"The role of opposition is important but there should be no place for negativity in politics. Yet, for the last 12 years, Congress has done only one thing - to use all sorts of abusive terms from the dictionary for Modi," he said.
Taking a dig over the fiasco at Visavadar, where Congress candidate could not submit his nomination forms because his party's authorisation document was snatched away by a boy, Modi said even a 12-year-old kid from the state did not want that Congress should get the mandate.
Gujarat Parivartan Party candidate Keshubhai Patel, who earlier parted ways with BJP, is contesting from Visavadar seat.
Modi also attacked Congress through social media, accusing it of having an 'anti-Gujarat mindset'.
"Be it opposing Swarnim Gujarat (golden jubilee of the state) celebrations, or obstructing construction of gates on Sardar Sarovar Dam, Congress has always shown anti-Gujarat mindset," Modi said on twitter.