Lucknow: Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah has attacked Rahul Gandhi, repeatedly calling the Congress vice president 'Pappu' while mocking his party for not naming a Prime Ministerial candidate for the polls due by May.
"Congress thinks the Prime Minister's chair is Pappu's birthright. But this is a democracy, you need people's blessings, and people's blessings are with Narendra Modi," said Mr Shah at a rally in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Shah has been tasked with managing the state's BJP campaign for 2014.
The names 'Pappu' and 'Feku' have been often used pejoratively for Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi by their critics online.
Tearing into Mr Gandhi and the Congress, the BJP leader said, "The Congress has no leaders, how will it run the country? We have declared our PM candidate (Narendra Modi) now. Who will be the Congress candidate? Pappu? No...they won't make Pappu their candidate as they are afraid of losing. They could have named Manmohan Singh but won't do that."
The jabs at Rahul Gandhi come days after the Congress vice president said during meetings in Gujarat, that the BJP "is day-dreaming in Uttar Pradesh where it can't win even 20 seats." Mr Gandhi also reportedly said the BJP would find it hard to win even 110 seats without its "main political weapon of communal polarisation".
Amit Shah, who is under the scanner for his alleged role in fake encounter killings in Gujarat, sought to point out that there "hadn't been a single communal incident in Gujarat in 12 years."
"For those who call us communal...Gujarat has not seen a communal incident in 12 years. The police in Gujarat never needed to fire shots in 12 years ...but in UP there is firing every week. Mulayam, first fix UP before dreaming big. He can't handle Uttar Pradesh and wants to sit on the chair in Delhi," said Mr Shah, targeting UP's Samajwadi Party government and its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.