Now Lalu contributes to “butcher” onslaught, BJP says remarks reek of despair

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New Delhi: The tenor of campaigning in this final stretch of elections remains set at “Ugly” – today, Lalu Yadav said that butchers shy away from analogies to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. “Even a butcher is ashamed of Narendra Modi. Should this person become the PM of India?” said Lalu, 66, in Bihar.

“What should I say on this? Maybe he can see defeat looming,” retorted the BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Lalu, head of the Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD, is contesting the national election in Bihar in alliance with the Congress.

Mr Modi was described this weekend as “the butcher of Gujarat” by the party of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Yesterday, she labelled him “the architect of the riots.” Her Trinamool Congress has been incensed by Mr Modi’s comments at a recent Bengal rally where he accused her of misgovernance, and suggested one of her paintings had been bought for 1.86 crores by a controversial Bengali entrepreneur who is now in prison.

Ms Banerjee’s party has rejected those allegations and responded by seeking to indict Mr Modi for the communal violence that left more than 1000 people dead, most of them Muslims, in communal violence in 2002 in his home state of Gujarat, where he is still chief minister.

Opinion polls forecast Mr Modi as the frontrunner for the country’s top job. Under him, the BJP is expected to deliver its strongest-ever election performance.

Parties like the Congress and Ms Banerjee’s have said the 2002 riots prove he is a divisive leader who does not enjoy the confidence of minorities. A Supreme Court inquiry has concluded that there is no evidence that Mr Modi fuelled the violence, and that same report was upheld by a Gujarat court.

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