Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today accused Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra of teaching abusive language to children in Amethi, and "requested" her to pull such stunts in Italy instead. He was referring to a recent video that showed a group of children using an expletive to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi in her presence at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's parliamentary constituency.
"The Congress has completely failed. The prince (referring to Rahul Gandhi) also failed, and so they brought in their princess (Priyanka Gandhi). She has been teaching abuses to innocent children of Amethi... please go and teach these abuses in Italy," news agency ANI quoted Yogi Adityanath as saying at an election rally in East Delhi's Mandawali. The BJP has fielded former cricketer Gautam Gambhir from the constituency, which will vote on May 12.
Both Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka Gandhi, often find themselves at the receiving end of jibes related to their Italian ancestry. Recently, BJP politician Subramanian Swamy even cited documentation filed with a UK company to claim that the Congress president was not an Indian citizen.
Priyanka Gandhi has accused critics of twisting the truth by circulating an edited clip, which fails to show her telling the children that abusing the Prime Minister "is not nice". "I'm sorry, but I stopped children from shouting slogans that I thought were not correct about the Prime Minister," she told NDTV.
The clarification, however, did not prevent the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) from issuing Priyanka Gandhi a notice and BJP leader Smriti Irani from advising "cultured families" to keep their children away from her. "Doesn't Mrs Vadra know that you can't use children for political activity? What values are you giving to children?" Ms Irani was quoted as saying by ANI.
Priyanka Gandhi rejected the allegation just as ferociously. "I am a mother, I will not teach anything wrong. I spent my life raising children, I didn't even get into politics all this time because I was looking after my children...so will I teach wrong values?" she told NDTV in Rae Bareli.
Yogi Adityanath, however, has had his run-ins with electoral norms during the ongoing election too. He was barred from campaigning for 72 hours last month for allegedly making communally charged remarks at a rally in Meerut.
(With inputs from Agencies)