Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday attacked NCP president Sharad Pawar for a certain hand gesture over the former's remark that the opposition was nowhere in the contest for the October 21 assembly election.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance at the rally, Mr Fadnavis said BJP leaders do not make gestures like "Natrang" (a 2010 Marathi film centred on a stage actor playing effeminate roles). He said Mr Pawar's "conscience" was weakening sensing defeat in the polls.
Addressing a rally in Solapur's Barshi on Saturday, Mr Pawar had hit out at Mr Fadnavis over the latter's remark that the BJP's "wrestler" (poll machine) was ready to fight, but there was no opponent.
"The chief minister said their wrestler is ready, but there is none (to fight). But you fight with a wrestler, and not with 'such' (making the hand gesture) people," Mr Pawar had said.
"One's conscience weakens when faced with defeat. Hence, we saw yesterday, how Pawar Saheb spoke, what kind of gestures he made," Mr Fadnavis said.
"We can reply, but we don't make such gestures. We never did anything like 'Natrang'. And it does not suit us to make such gestures. The people of the state will show who the true wrestler is on October 24 (vote counting day)," the chief minister added.
Continuing his attack on the Congress, Mr Fadnavis alleged its leader Rahul Gandhi knew his party was not going to win in the election and, hence, had gone to Bangkok.
"Gandhi came back after lot of persuasion by party leaders... But wherever Rahul Gandhi campaigned, they faced defeat," Mr Fadnavis quipped.
Congress spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi accused Mr Fadnavis of lying on the whereabouts of Mr Gandhi. "Gandhi is touring Maharashtra today and exposing the lies of the Fadnavis government through his public rallies," Mr Tyagi said.
He said Mr Fadnavis did not speak anything about farmer suicides, unemployment, economic slowdown and water scarcity, but only "lied".