The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has accused the Congress Party of spreading unrest in Andhra Pradesh by practicing vote bank politics over the Telangana issue.
Addressing a rally in Surat from where he also flagged off a 'Vikas Jyoti Yatra' on Friday, Modi said the Congress is harvesting poison by the course it has chosen to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh and create a new Telangana state. "You sowed the seeds of poison. The whole of Andhra Pradesh is burning. The way you want to create Telangana from Andhra, the vote bank tactics and the harvesting of poison, has led to the result that neither Telangana is happy nor Seemandhra," claimed Modi.
Modi further said: "They are using filmy dialogues that some people indulge in harvesting poison. I would like to tell you who does harvesting of poison and who harvests love."
To his detractors, Modi's reign is overshadowed by Hindu-Muslim riots that tore through his state of Gujarat more than a decade ago, killing 1,000 to 2,000 people.
Critics accuse him of not having done enough to stop the violence, or even quietly encouraging it. However, he denies these allegations strenuously.
But, that has not stopped him from winning successive elections, touting his credentials as an effective economic manager in contrast to the policy drift in New Delhi that has helped drag India's economic growth to its worst pace in a decade.
Indian media often presents the 2014 elections as a face-off between Rahul Gandhi, best known for his famous last name, and Modi, who has been lauded by Indian corporate leaders and foreign companies for his business-friendly policies in Gujarat.
BJP's strong showing in the recent polls in four states has boosted the momentum for Modi in the run-up to the national election due by April 2014.