The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday maintained that its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had not crossed the limits of decency with his controversial comments, including calling Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi ‘shehzada.’

Mr. Modi has of late been criticised for the tone and tenor of his speeches; particularly with reference to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son.

The BJP, on the other hand, accused leaders of the Congress and its allies of unleashing a barrage of attacks on Mr. Modi by calling him all sorts of names. “Criticism is a normal thing in politics but for sometime our opponents — the Congress and its allies — have been breaking all norms of decency and disturbing healthy democratic practices,” said party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi.

Recalling how one Congress spokesperson used offensive language against Mr. Modi on Thursday and a leader of an ally party had questioned his origins – the reference to his being a tea-seller – Dr. Trivedi said even in the past following the Patna and earlier Karnataka blasts, these parties showed an insensitive attitude through their statements.

Dr. Trivedi insisted that the tone and tenor indicated that the charges were not spontaneous but were part of a well thought-out strategy.

“Following Bangalore blasts, the Congress said there is “no influence, no wave, only poison” in him, then a Rajiv Gandhi aide had noted that he was not “loh purush but lahu purush” [not a man of iron, but of blood] and some even went on to equate him with Kasab.”

Dr. Trivedi recalled how parallels were drawn between Mr. Modi and Adolf Hitler after the BJP leader wondered on completion of 100 years of Indian cinema as to why the industry was not being used to promote the country abroad. His critics had said that following the screening of Triumph of the Will, a Nazi propaganda film that chronicled the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, the call was made that ‘Hitler is Germany, Germany is Hitler’ and similarly Mr. Modi wanted to use films for self-projection. But the irony was that in 1975 it was the Congress, which first gave a similar call – ‘Indira is India and India is Indira’, Mr. Trivedi said.

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