BJP leader and the party's candidate from Nawada in Bihar Giriraj Singh while addressing an election rally in Godda in Jharkhand on Saturday made statements suggesting there will be no place in India for Narendra Modi's critics, and that they will only belong in Pakistan. Mr Singh's statements provoked sharp criticism from other political leaders in the state.

Jo log Narendra Modi ko rokna chahte hain, woh pakistan dekh rahein hai. Aane wale dinon mein in logon ke liye jagah hindustan mein nahi, jharkhand mein nahi, balki pakistan mein hoga (Those who try to stop Modi have their eyes on Pakistan. In the coming days, there will be no place for his critics either in India or in Jharkhand, but only in Pakistan),” Mr Singh can be seen as saying while addressing a rally in a video report on the NDTV website. BJP senior leader and former party president Nitin Gadkari was also present at the rally on Saturday in support for the party's sitting MP Nishikant Dubey.

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) MLA Pradeep Yadav who is the party's candidate from Godda described this as BJP's attempt to polarise the voters. Godda goes to polls on April 24. “BJP is trying to create tumult just before the elections. The fact that Giriraj Singh refers to Pakistan makes it clear the party is attacking muslim voters. This is not permissible."

BJP's Jharkhand state president and Giridih candidate Ravindra Rai said he disagreed with Mr Singh's comments. “I do not know the context in which Giriraj Singh made the comments so I cannot be sure of what he meant. But it is true that this is a democracy and there will always be critics. There was no reason to talk of Pakistan in his speech while appealing to voters to support Modi,” he said. Senior leader Yashwant Sinha declined to comment saying he was not aware of Mr Singh's speech's contents.