Wading into BJP’s internal affairs, Rahul Gandhi on Monday said L.K. Advani is no more its “tallest leader” that he once used to be and has been made a “small leader” by the party, as he unleashed a fierce attack against Narendra Modi.

“..You may remember Advaniji who is BJP’s tallest leader… he is no more the tallest leader that he once used to be. Now, BJP has made him a small leader..,” Mr. Gandhi said at a rally in Raichur in northern Karnataka. The BJP veteran and the party’s prime ministerial candidate have shared an uneasy relationship in the recent past.

The Congress vice-president talked about Mr. Advani while referring to UPA government granting special status to backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region comprising six districts in north-east part of the state that would entail special economic benefits to it.

“... Advaniji who once used to be the tallest leader of that party had said if article 371(J) is passed country will get divided,” Mr. Gandhi, said, adding, the UPA government did it.

He said Mr. Advani’s view on passing article 371 (J) would disintegrate the country was “incorrect”.

“He (Advani) said if 371J is passed, the country will disintegrate. We passed the 371J and the country was not divided. It benefited you, it gave you education, employment,” Mr. Gandhi added.

Mr. Gandhi ridiculed the Gujarat model by raking up the “snoopgate” scandal with the barb targeted at Mr. Modi, who was in the eye of storm over a scandal involving the surveillance of a woman.

“Chief Minister’s power in states like this (Karnataka) will be towards empowering poor, getting big projects implemented, but in Gujarat model Chief Minister’s power will work towards putting police force behind women, their power will also get utilised in tapping women’s phones....and these very people talk about women empowerment.”

“On one side phone tapping, second side police are chasing women from behind, on the third side pornographic films are being watched and on the fourth side minister is involved in rape like incidents, and these people come with the posters of empowering women....”

“....these people can’t empower you, as they don’t even respect you,” he said.

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