Bengaluru: A day after the Karnataka Congress called Prime Minister Narendra Modi an illiterate and later deleted the tweet, the BJP termed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a drug peddler and an addict.
"Who is Rahul Gandhi? I am not saying it. Rahul Gandhi is a drug addict and drug peddler. It had come in the media. You can't even run the party," Karnataka BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel said on Tuesday.
Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar took to Twitter and sought an apology from the BJP for the abusive and unparliamentary remarks. He tweeted, "Yesterday I said I believe we should be civil and respectful in politics, even to our opponents. I hope the BJP agrees with me, and will apologise for their state president’s abusive and unparliamentary remarks against Shri Rahul Gandhi."
Earlier, Congress in Karnataka deleted a tweet labelling Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an "angootha-chhaap" or illiterate. The Congress admitted that what was said about the PM was uncivil and put the blame on a "novice social media manager". The party also expressed regret for the tweet.
DKS gave orders to delete the controversial post late last night and said the tweet fell short of the standards of "civil and parliamentary language" in political discourse.
"I have always believed that civil and parliamentary language is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for political discourse. An uncivil tweet made by a novice social media manager through the Karnataka Congress official Twitter handle is regretted and stands withdrawn," DKS tweeted.
As reported earlier, the controversial tweet on the party handle said: "Congress built schools but Modi never went to study. Congress even set up schemes for adults to learn, Modi didn't learn there too. People who chose to beg for a living despite beggary being prohibited are today pushing citizens to beggary. Country is suffering because of "#angoothachhaap modi." The tweet was in Kannada.
"Angootha-chhaap" is used derogatorily for a person can't read or write and uses a thumb print for a signature.
The BJP refused to react to the tweet. In a muted response, a spokesperson of the party, Malavika Avinash, said "only the Congress could stoop so low" and added that the comment did not even merit a response.
The tweet comes in the backdrop of a bitter battle for Sindagi and Hangal -- the two assembly constituencies going to polls on October 30.
For the Chief Minister and the ruling BJP, it is important to win its first electoral test after Basavaraj Bommai replaced BS Yediyurappa as the CM.
The opposition Congress, aiming to win both seats - one belonged to the Janata Dal Secular and the other, BJP - has been campaigning aggressively but has lately made some glaring missteps.
Meanwhile, the focus is now on BS Yediyurappa who has entered the battlefield and promises to further stir up the aggressive campaigning.