Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a frontal attack on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre accusing it of “conspiring” to dislodge his democratically elected government and demanded the “recall” of Governor Kamala Beniwal, who, he alleged, was helping the Congress run a “parallel government” in the State.

Addressing a rally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and others at Vastral between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, Mr. Modi said Ms. Beniwal had transgressed the thin line and brought the office of the Governor to disgrace and disrepute by virtually turning the Raj Bhavan into “Congress Bhavan.”

The Chief Minister claimed that the same words and sentences used by the Congress in their memoranda submitted to various authorities criticising the State government were also found in the Raj Bhavan communiqué. He also alleged that the Congress was calling meetings of the district-level officials through the Governor and issuing them “direct orders.” “How can you run a parallel government using the Governor's office?” he asked.

Mr. Modi, however, had a few good words for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who, he said, “used to be a nice person” but had become a “spoiled man by remaining in bad company.”

No Central BJP leader, except national vice-president Purshottam Rupala, who formerly was the State party president, turned up for the event — the first public address by Mr. Modi since his three-day ‘Sadbhavana Mission' — to launch the campaign against the Governor.

Veteran party leader L.K. Advani, who for the last 20 years has been regularly paying a visit to the Somnath temple, broke his personal tradition this year and also skipped the rally, allegedly because his relations with Mr. Modi had turned sour after the Sadbhavana Mission.

The rally was organised to take the State government's fight against Ms. Beniwal to the streets, even as its petition against the Governor was pending before the High Court. The government-Governor relations had reached the flashpoint following Ms. Beniwal's unilateral appointment of Justice R.A. Mehta, a retired judge of the High Court, as the Lokayukta bypassing the Modi government. The rallyists shouted “Governor go back” slogans all through.