In an obvious reference to Mr. Modi, the Congress chief said, " You should reject the ambition of one individual who says he will make India a paradise."

The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, said on Wednesday that the BJP was in the hands of an individual who "claims to have the solutions for all the problems facing us".

Addressing a public meeting at Kanyakumari, her first and only rally in the State, she repeatedly appealed to the people to elect a Congress government "that will give you a young, strong, federal government" to work tirelessly for inclusive growth, social justice, peace and communal harmony.

She did not mention the name of her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, when she said the "Congress will give you a young, strong, federal government".

Her remarks come at a time when most of the surveys forecast a BJP-led government at the Centre, riding primarily on the "perceived wave" in favour of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.

Without uttering the name of Mr. Modi in her speech, which focussed on issues, she said: "The BJP is in the hands of one individual. This individual claims to have the solutions for all the problems facing us. He claims that if he comes to power, he will make India a paradise. You must reject the unbridled ambition of this one individual."

Today, the country was facing a serious challenge, she said. A dangerous combination of religious fanaticism, politics and money had evolved to seize power. Its intention was to divide and polarise people on communal lines. "From the past, we know what effect it has on law and order and communal harmony. There will be no peace. When there's no peace, the country can’t progress," she said to the loud cheers of the crowd that spilled out of the venue in thousands on a hot high noon.

"They are going around telling people that the Congress has not done enough but no government has done as much as the UPA government," Ms. Gandhi said, detailing the three major promises her party has mentioned in its manifesto — the right to free medical care, the right to shelter and the right to pension.

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