Meerut: Narendra Modi today hit back at Sonia Gandhi for her 'zeher ki kheti' (or seeds of poison) remark, saying it is the Congress which has been afflicted with the 'poison' called power for most of India's independent history.
"Sonia Gandhi had told Rahul that power is poison. Who has been in power for most of the time during the last 60 years? In whose stomach has this poison gone? Who is spewing this poison? They (Congress) are the ones who sow the seeds of poison," the BJP prime ministerial candidate said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district, 70 km from Delhi.
"Congress is a divisive party. They believe in divide and rule; they believe in vote-bank politics, of making communities fight," the 63-year-old leader said. (Highlights of Narendra Modi's speech)
"I firmly believe that you will not allow those who sow the seeds of poison, who don't believe in secular credentials and who play the politics of instigating violence to succeed," Mrs Gandhi had said at a rally in Karnataka yesterday in an apparent attack on the BJP's prime ministerial candidate. (BJP sowing seeds of poison in its hunger for power: Sonia Gandhi)
"Everyone knows who spreads poison in the society. He only wants to target the Gandhi family," senior Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said in response to Mr Modi's remarks today.
Addressing the mammoth rally, Mr Modi also hit out at the ruling Samajwadi Party in the state, calling it a "Samaj-Virodhi (anti-social) Party" and accusing it of corruption and non-governance.
"In Uttar Pradesh, it is news when people get electricity," the Gujarat chief minister said in his 50-minute speech.
Mr Modi also attacked the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi for its failure to check crimes against people from the north-east and Africa. (Nido Taniam's death: 10 latest developments)
"It's a shame that a student from Arunachal Pradesh was killed in Delhi," Mr Modi said, alluding to the death of Nido Taniam in an alleged racist attack earlier this week.
"Sons and daughters from India's north-east are our own children," Mr Modi said.