In an escalation of war of words, Narendra Modi on Monday dubbed Rahul Gandhi as a 'specimen' who has 'little knowledge' of Gujarat and the Congress vice-president hit back accusing him and the BJP of adopting "double standards" on corruption and favouring select industrialists.
Modi lampooned Rahul for dishing out "falsehoods" in his speeches about vast job vacancies and the institution of the Lokayukta in his state.
He also alleged that the Congress has so far sent 100 emissaries to his home town of Vadnagar to find out if he ever used to sell tea or not.
"If you want to relieve stress, listen to Rahul's speeches. As per his mathematics, there are 27,000 crore jobs lying vacant in Gujarat. How can this be possible when the total population of Gujarat is six crores? What kind of namuna (specimen) has the Congress brought ?" asked Modi during his rally in Kheralu town under Patan Lok Sabha constituency.
Addressing a rally in Bhatinda in Punjab, Rahul came down heavily on Modi, accusing him and the BJP of adopting double standards on corruption and favouring select industrialists.
"Just two-three industrialists were benefited (under NDA regime) which they called India Shining. Big government owned companies worth thousands of crores were gifted. Balco, a government-owned company, was given to a friend of late union minister and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan," Rahul alleged.
Accusing Modi of doling out favours to select corporates, Rahul alleged that he handed over 45,000 ares of land to Adani group at a rate of Rs 1 per meter.
Tearing into Modi's much-touted Gujarat model, he said financial benefit to the tune of Rs 26,000 crore as power waiver was given to an industrialist. A total benefit of Rs 35,000 crore was handed over to Adani, he alleged.
Labelling the Congress vice-president as "ignorant" about Gujarat, Modi said, "Rahul recently claimed in his speech that Gujarat doesn't have Lokayukta. But he should be knowing that Gujarat does have Lokayukta and its first report has been tabled in the assembly. Rahulbhai, if you don't have that much knowledge, what would happen to India?" Modi said.
He also accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi of heaping injustice on Gujarat over the issue of Narmada dam for her 'political gains'.
"Sonia claimed that people of Gujarat are deprived of drinking water. I want to tell you that during Congress regime, water was sent to Saurashtra region through trains. Now, we have laid huge pipelines for that," Modi said during his final lap of canvassing in the state.
Without naming Sonia's political advisor Ahmed Patel, Modi claimed that 'malicious' advice is being given to her.
"(The) government of 'mother-son duo' and their political advisor ruined this country. Why you didn't give permission to build gates on Narmada dam? It could have given 4 times more water to Gujarat. But, their advisor warned them that if gates are installed, then Congress will lose their ground in Gujarat for next 50 years," alleged Modi.
He also accused the Congress of constantly trying to dig out something controversial to nail him.
"Congress sent at least 100 persons to Vadnagar (Modi's native place) to check whether I ever sold tea or not. I can only say that when Shakersinh Vaghela, who is of my father's age, used to come to my place in those days, he always wanted me to make tea for him," he said.
Modi also lambasted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his address.
"Congress knows that a tsunami is coming. But our PM can't see it. That is not surprising, because he can't see India's problems too, such as inflation and corruption," alleged Modi.
Attacking Modi, Rahul said the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate seeks to give an impression that development of Gujarat was his "personal" achievement and seems oblivious to the efforts of millions of people, including women who made the Amul brand a success.
"You listen to his speech (Modi), You listen to mine. You (Punjab) gave us Prime Minister. You see his (PM) speeches during the last 10 years, Sonia's (Gandhi) speeches, Congress leaders speeches, all talk with love and respect.
"Even if we talk about them (opponents), we talk with love and respect. We never use harsh words and angry tone. But wherever they go, they cannot speak any good, nor they can do any good for others," he said, while urging people to support Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal, estranged nephew of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.