Indian prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a direct attack on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, calling him one of the three 'AKs' popular in Pakistan.
The BJP leader said the other two ‘AKs’ were the assault rifle AK-47 and Indian Defence Minister AK Antony.
“There are three people who are being praised in Pakistan - they are three AKs. The first one is AK-47 that is used to spill the blood of innocents. The second is Defence Minister of India, AK Antony, who had said that those who beheaded the Indian soldiers were terrorists in Pakistan Army uniforms. And the third is AK-49,” Indian media quoted Modi as saying at a large rally in India-held Jammu and Kashmir.
“This AK-49 just gave birth to a new party and on his party's official website, the map shows Kashmir is given to Pakistan and one his most trusted aides has favoured plebiscite in Kashmir....Pakistan’s papers are full of praise for them. They are enemies of the country. They speak in favour of Pakistan,” he added in an apparent reference to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal resigned after 49 days as chief minister in Delhi state.
“We need to identify and know the real nature of these ‘AKs’,” added Modi.
Pakistan separated from India following the end of the British colonial rule in 1947 – a split that has caused endless tension and triggered three wars – two of them over Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan territory claimed in full by both countries.
Right-wing Indian nationalists often use anti-Pakistan rhetoric in their political campaigns.
India, the world's largest democracy, is set to go to general election from April 7, a five-week contest expected to bring Hindu nationalist Modi to power.
After two terms of coalition government led by the leftist Congress party, the BJP under Modi is widely forecast to emerge as the largest party.
Modi, leader of the western state of Gujarat since 2001, is seen as a pro-business reformer but his Hindu nationalism and links to anti-Muslim riots worry religious minorities and defenders of India’s officially secular character.
Opinion polls show Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat when anti-Muslim riots left more than 1,000 dead in 2002, holds a large advantage over his rivals
A new movement with national ambitions, the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party led by former tax inspector Arvind Kejriwal, will also be an unpredictable element in this year’s polls.
Just over a year since its formation, the party won enough seats in December’s Delhi state elections to take power in what was seen as a political earthquake in the graft-plagued nation.
No single party has won a parliamentary majority since 1989 and the electorate has fractured in successive decades, giving often populist regional leaders immense power at the national level.