In the heat of the bypolls to Hangal and Sindgi Assembly constituencies, the Congress and the BJP were involved in a spat on Twitter after the former called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “illiterate”.
The Congress later withdrew the tweet and Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar regretted the action of a "novice" social media manager. "I have always believed that civil and parliamentary language is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for political discourse. An uncivil tweet made by a novice social media manager through the Karnataka Congress official Twitter handle is regretted and stands withdrawn," he tweeted.
“The Congress had built schools. Despite this, Mr. Modi did not study. There was an adult education programme, but he still did not study. Though there is prohibition on begging, those who are addicted to easy life by begging are turning citizens into beggars. The country is suffering because of illiterate Modi,” Karnataka Congress said in a series of tweets in Kannada with a hashtag #illiterateModi (#hebbattugirakimodi).
In another tweet, Karnataka Congress said, “Speech does not come without a teleprompter! His play in external affairs does not start without translators! A person who quit studies to beg does not understand the economy! Fashionable attire, free publicity, and speech full of lies is his strength!”
Claiming that petrol and diesel would have been made available for ₹66 and ₹55, respectively, if the Congress was in power, the party’s Twitter handle wrote, “Prices of essential commodities have gone up because of the government’s tax terrorism. The BJP has plans to rob people to provide to industrialists. The country is struggling because illiterate Modi does not understand people’s problems.”
Suggesting that the Prime Minister change his name, the Karnataka Congress said, “The Prime Minister who does not speak on ground realities can change his name to Mounendra Modi. Silence on price rise, Chinese aggression, farmer killings, Kashmir killings, Adani port drugs seizure, unemployment.”
Hitting out at the Congress, the BJP said, “Though there were enough schools, a 50-year-old and a senior youth leader did not study in India at all. Though there was an adult education programme, Pappu did not grow mentally. He is wandering like a beggar [thinking] that he will become Prime Minister because his great-grandfather and father were Prime Ministers.”
The BJP has used such names to refer to Rahul Gandhi in the past too.