Ahmedabad: Rahul Gandhi used a long speech at a public rally in Jamnagar today to remind Narendra Modi that Gujarat was the land of Mahatma Gandhi, who, the Congress leader said, was his "guru in politics."
Mr Modi, retorted, also at a rally, "Rahul Gandhi said he follows Gandhi's footsteps. Gandhi-ji wanted to disband Congress after independence and this wish of his will definitely be fulfilled by Rahul baba."
For his first show in Gujarat for this month's assembly elections, Mr Gandhi chose a triple rally. Gujarat votes first on Thursday, and then on Monday.
His attack on Mr Modi was direct. "In Gujarat, the people's voice is not heard. The government of Gujarat and the Chief Minister do not want to listen to you. He wants to hear only his own voice. He has his dream and he thinks only about his own dream."
For his second rally, Mr Gandhi chose Sanand, a town Mr Modi likes to show-case as an example of Gujarat's development and investor-friendliness - Tata Motors relocated here from Singur to make the low-cost Nano car. A huge crowd gathered to hear Mr Gandhi, who called the Gujarat Chief Minister a "marketeer" accusing him of false propaganda.
"You people have to bear a manufacturing cost of Rs 60, 000 one one car rolls out. But does anyone here own a nano. No. Special benefits have been given to few people at your cost,'' he said.
"The marketeer says Gujarat is shining. But tell me how many hours people get water? People get water for 25 minutes in every three days. But the marketeer says Gujarat is shining. There are 10 lakh unemployed youth in Gujarat. But the marketer says Gujarat is shining," Mr Gandhi added.
Many are betting on Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi helming their respective parties and locking horns in a direct clash in the 2014 general elections. But in the Gujarat elections, Rahul Gandhi is conspicuous by his absence on the Congress' campaign posters. Sources say the party has strategically played down the Rahul factor in an election that Mr Modi is widely tipped to win - the Congress would not like Mr Gandhi closely associated with another lost electoral battle after the Uttar Pradesh debacle earlier this year.