Adding another to the season of name-calling, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the "modern-day Aurangzeb" who has destroyed hundreds of temples in Varanasi. This, on a day his party's top leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra compared the Prime Minister to "Duryodhana", a key villain of the epic Mahabharata.
"After coming to Varanasi, I saw that hundreds of temples have been destroyed in the city. There is also a newly-imposed Rs 550 fee for the darshan of Lord Vishwanath. I feel that Prime Minister Modi is a modern-day Aurangzeb. He has succeeded in destroying those temples which the people of Banaras defended even during the peak of Aurangzeb''s cruel regime," Sanjay Nirupam told reporters on Tuesday.
"I condemn the modern-day Aurangzeb who has imposed a jaziya (tax) on devotees for visiting their lord. The irony is Narendra Modi talks about protecting Hindu beliefs and rights and pulls down temples. I condemn his acts," he said.
Sanjay Nirupam, the Congress candidate from Mumbai Northwest constituency, also defended his party's claims on surgical strikes during the UPA rule.
"BJP has now come on the back foot because we revealed the truth that surgical strikes took place even under Congress rule. The power of Indian Army during our rule was so much that we were able to split Pakistan into two," he said.
Sanjay Nirupam also targeted the BJP for PM Modi's comments on Congress president Rahul Gandhi's father and former PM Rajiv Gandhi. He responded to PM Modi's challenge to the Congress to contest in the name of Rajiv Gandhi.
"We are ready to fight elections in the name of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The day he (PM Modi) took Rajiv ji''s name, he ensured Smriti Irani will lose Amethi by at least two and a half lakh votes," he said.
Also on Tuesday, Priyanka Gandhi had accused PM Modi of the "same kind of arrogance that led to the downfall of Duryodhana", referring to the main villain of the epic Mahabharata.