"This election is not about Rahul. I have now learnt to deal with the prime minister. When he can't respond, he distracts," Rahul Gandhi said.
On Wednesday, PM Modi had, at an election rally in Karnataka, mocked Rahul Gandhi over his statement that he was ready to be prime minister if his party emerged as the single largest in the 2019 national election. Will the country ever accept such an "immature and naamdaar (dynast)" leader for the top post, the prime minister questioned.
Asked about the "personal attacks", the Congress president referred to a story on the Buddha, who refused to react to a man shouting and abusing him.
"Buddha said the anger belonged to that man, and he did not accept the abuse, so it went back to that person," Rahul Gandhi said.
"Modi has anger inside. He has anger for everybody, not just me....and he sees a threat in me," he said.
"Throughout last 15 years, I've been visiting temples, mosques, gurudwaras, every religious institution I come across. BJP doesn't like this. I don't think they understand the meaning of the term Hindu. It's a perspective. It's something which lives with you throughout," he said.
Gandhi said the Modi government had "decimated" the country's foreign policy and that a "disaster" was in the making on that front.
The election in Karnataka will be held on May 12 in 223 of the 224 constituencies of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, while the counting of votes and announcement of results will take place on May 15.
The election for one constituency has been postponed following the death of B.N. Vijay Kumar, Jayanagar BJP candidate.
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