Criticising Narendra Modi for his "communal and separatist mentality", his Congress rival from Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency Madhusudan Mistry today said here that BJP's prime ministerial nominee is just an "average candidate".
"I do not see any challenge fighting against him, this is like any general election and I am going to take on an average candidate," Mistry told reporters.
Mistry, who has done his post graduate from Vadodara's Maharaj Sayajirao University, targetted Modi over his "Pak agents" and "shahzada" remarks. "Addressing someone as Pakistan's agent or frequently uttering a word like 'shahzada' reflects his communal mentality. With the intention of garnering votes for him and his party, Modi wants to create communal gaps in the country," Mistry told reporters. "He (Modi) is wearing a mask of development but, he has communal and separatist views in his mind, which has come out in his recent remarks," he said.
Addressing a BJP meet in Jammu on Wednesday, Modi had targeted Defence Minister A K Antony and Arvind Kejriwal, calling them "agents of Pakistan and enemy of India" and speaking its language. Modi has time and again referred to Rahul Gandhi as 'shahzada' (prince).
Mistry replaced Narendra Rawat, who was the consensus candidate elected through primary, after the BJP declared Modi's nomination from Vadodara. "Modi cannot win from Varanasi, while the people of Vadodara will give him the right answer as I am there," Mistry said.
After Rawat's replacement by Mistry for the Vadodara seat, Modi had said that Rawat was replaced as he was a Dalit.
However, targetting the Gujarat chief minister over this remark, Mistry said, "I am astonished that a person, who wants to reach the highest post of this country, is playing with the sentiments of Dalits...He is playing caste politics to get votes, I condemn such an act by him." He sought to know why senior Dalit leader Ratilal Verma was denied ticket by the BJP earlier.
Mistry challenged Modi for an open debate over his development model of Gujarat. "I dare him for an open debate. If he cannot come, then he must openly meet the media without hiding behind any of his men," the Congress candidate said.
Mistry has also informed that he will start his campaign very soon after meeeting party-workers at Vadodara.