Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi.Reuters File

BJP and Congress are back in battlefield. Bitter rivals and political heavyweights, Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi, landed in Haryana on Saturday to campaign for their party ahead of the assembly polls and what ensued was a war of words. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the voters to get rid of Congress once and for all, INC President Sonia Gandhi compared Modi to an "empty vessel."

During her speech at the campaign rally in Haryana's Sirsa district, Sonia attacked Modi and his party over a number of issues. She claimed the new government has failed to curb inflation and has been unsuccessful in bringing back the black money stashed abroad.

"Did they (Modi govt) fulfill promise of providing employment or reducing inflation? What happened to the promise of bringing back black money? Empty vessels make the most noise, being loud doesn't mean you are speaking truth," Daily News & Analysis quoted Gandhi as saying.

She pointed out not just their failures, but also BJP's attempts at imitating Congress and taking credits for their (Congress') work and told the voters to make an "informed choice this election" and not let their "heart rule" when they cast their vote on 15 October.

"BJP is taking credit by renaming programs started by us and is only happy when taking credit for other people's work," Gandhi said.

On the other hand, BJP leader and Indian Prime Minister Modi appealed to the people of Haryana to vote for BJP and not for Congress, which "has done nothing in last 60 years", according to him. Modi opened his speech during the campaign rally at state's Karnal district by attacking Congress for its alleged scams and for being "anti-farmer".

"Have the poor got any plot? Then where have thousands of acres of land disappeared? Who took these. Does Haryana want to settle the account?" PTI quoted Modi as saying.

Uncovering Congress' anti-farmer attitude, Modi said it is not the BJP-led government that has put a ban on export of Basmati rice; it is Congress which is trying to mislead Haryana with its lies.

"My farmer brothers and sisters, you are being misled, white lies are being told to you. You are told that the Centre has imposed a ban on export of Basmati rice, this is 100% lies...I want to tell you that in Haryana mandis, Congress government has imposed 4% tax and as a result Haryana farmer who sells his Basmati is unable to compete in the market," Modi said.

"The anti-farmer Congress, which was in power for 10 years, is responsible for the plight of Basmati-producing farmers," he added.

While concluding and summing up his speech, Modi again cautioned the people of Haryana to vote for a strong and majority government if it wants to see change and get rid of the misery brought on by the previous government.

"I want you to vote for BJP so that it forms the government with full majority. Change is important if you want to move forward. Make Haryana free from the Congress misrule... Voters must ensure victory for BJP to ensure my continuity and link with Haryana," NDTV quoted him as saying.

The war of words, attack on the rival party and promises ahead of assembly polls have seemingly cropped up after BJP faced a setback in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh bypolls earlier in September. The Modi-wave that crashed last month is again set to face an acid test later this month.