Congress leader Anand Sharma on 9 December criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign rallies in the wake of the Gujarat Assembly polls, adding he and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Amit Shah had lowered the dignity of their respective positions and political debates.
"Going by the prime minister's language and the allegations that he is hurling I can say that he is rattled. Defeat is scaring him and the BJP in the face. The prime minister himself has been responsible, so is his party president Amit Shah, for lowering the dignity of the debate," Sharma told ANI.
He added, "He is not talking about employment, development and economy. He is desperately seeking sympathy of the people through these actions and theatrical statements."
In the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly polls, the rebuttal between the two parties has been going back and forth, but became intense after Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's 'neech' remark.
The BJP has been attacking Congress on various premises but primarily on its constant jibes on his humble beginnings.
Sharma further said that the BJP had dragged the political discourse to a new low.
Speaking about the recent suspension of Mani Shankar Aiyar, he added, "The Congress Party has taken a very firm stand. Mani Shankar Aiyar was asked to apoligise; he apologised and was suspended. The prime minister will do great good to the country if he follows the same path."
Another Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that while they threw a leader who insulted the prime minister, the BJP and its leaders are continuing insulting Rahul Gandhi.
"The prime minister did not talk about Gujarat once in his speech. He just talked about China, Afghanistan, Babur and Aurangzeb, which is why his allies (referring to the Shiv Sena) are using such language. One of our leaders talked ill of the prime minister and we threw him out of the party (Mani Shankar Aiyar)," Surjewala told ANI.
Surjewala also said that no matter how much the opposition threw "dirt" on them, they would raise questions about the development of Gujarat.
"These elections are not based on throwing dirt on others. You throw dirt on us, we will ask you about the elections. You will scare us, but we will talk about moving Gujarat forward. This is the only difference between the BJP and Congress," he said.
The first phase of voting in 89 assembly constituencies of Gujarat began this morning.
A total of 977 candidates are in the fray, out of which 57 are women candidates.
The second phase will be held on 14 December for 93 assembly constituencies while counting of the votes will be done on 18 December.
The crucial elections are being seen as prestige battle for BJP, which has been ruling the state for last 22 years, and litmus test for the Congress.