Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's refusal to wear a Muslim skullcap offered to him by an Imam — even as he donned a range of headgear — during his much publicised three-day fast in Ahmedabad evoked a sharp riposte from the Congress. Party spokesperson Renuka Chowdary said: “Modiji logon ko topi pahnate hain, apne aap pahente nahin [Modi fools others; he doesn't get fooled himself].”

Even as the Congress' Gujarat State unit staged a counter-fast in the State capital, the party's national leadership appears not to be unduly concerned by Mr. Modi's “sadbhavana mission.” Instead, Ms. Chowdary said here on Monday that by arresting danseuse Mallika Sarabhai and others who had objected to Mr. Modi's fast, the latter's mask had slipped off and “his real face had emerged.” She also mocked him saying it was a good way to lose weight.

Earlier, Congress functionary in charge of Gujarat Mohan Prakash said the fast had led to cracks in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), pointing to Janata Dal (United) leader and NDA convener Sharad Yadav criticising Mr. Modi. He also added that the ‘sadbhavana' (harmony) within the BJP had been destroyed through Mr. Modi's game of one-upmanship. “His words have lost their credibility,” Mr. Prakash said, adding, “everyone knows there is no harmony and the people of Gujarat have understood the reality.”

The Congress leader also wanted to know why Mr. Modi was not responding to charges made in a Comptroller and Auditor-General's report of losses totalling Rs.26,000 crore. And if Mr. Modi had nothing to hide, Mr. Prakash asked, why did he want to get rid of his Lokayukta.