Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has accused the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah of "hitting below the belt" and asked them to maintain decorum. The strong reaction was in response to a letter from Amit Shah in which he said that Chandrababu Naidu's "delusional politics was about to end".
"I condemn all this. He has written the letter to the people of Andhra Pradesh. They are hitting me below the belt. PM and Shah have to maintain decorum," Mr Naidu told news agency ANI.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu sat on a day-long fast in Delhi to demand special status for Andhra Pradesh. The TDP had pulled out of the NDA last year over its demand for special status.
Last week, Amit Shah had announced that Mr Naidu will never be allowed into the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) again.
Criticising his fast, Amit Shah said the Andhra Pradesh chief minister knows that his political fortunes are declining and so he was back to theatrics in his desperation for grabbing headlines.
In an open letter, the BJP leader censured Mr Naidu for breaking their trust and going too far by "personally" attacking PM Modi.
Mr Naidu's "delusional politics" is about to end, he said, adding that the BJP has full faith in "Satyameva Jayate" (truth prevails).
The TDP leader had made a personal attack on PM Modi after the Prime Minister referred to his son to target him during a rally in Andhra Pradesh.
Mr Shah said people will teach Chandrababu Naidu a befitting lesson in the upcoming national election for joining hands with the Congress, which divided the state in a "unilateral, hasty and unscientific manner, ignoring its interests".
Lashing out at the TDP chief, Mr Shah claimed that he never expected him to surpass the Congress in speaking lies and running a "hate campaign" against the centre, PM Modi and the BJP.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister had made his political debut with the Congress and quit the party to join the TDP, which was founded by his father-in-law NT Rama Rao.
He has now joined hands with a party which imposed Emergency and dismissed the NT Rama Rao government in 1984, Amit Shah said.
The assembly elections in the state will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. Sensing defeat in the upcoming elections, the U-turn chief minister is resorting to a malicious propaganda against the BJP leadership to divert people's attention from his failures, the BJP chief claimed.
In his letter, Mr Shah listed a number of central projects being taken up in the state in addition to those mentioned in the Act that divided it in 2014 -- leading to formation of Telangana.
Responding to demands of special category status to the state, he said the centre has been constrained by the 14th finance commission's recommendations which, he added, did not make a distinction between special and general category states for financial support and tax devolution.
As a result, the centre in consultation with the state government worked out special assistance for Andhra Pradesh, he said.
Hitting out at Mr Naidu for his "U-turn", the BJP chief said he had hailed the special package, but he is scared now as his failures have been exposed.
"Apparently, panic has set in now and the TDP leader is scared that his omissions and commissions would be exposed. That is why he is going to the extent of accepting the leadership of the Congress which has ruled and ruined the country, compromised the integrity of every institution and is neck-deep in scams and scandals," he said.