Lucknow: "Gujarat ke gadhe" (donkeys of Gujarat), "Loktantra ke aatankwaadi" (terrorists of democracy), "Behenji Sampatti Party", "Negative Dalit Man"... Political discourse amid ongoing assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh has touched a new low.
With three phases to elect 403 MLAs over and four rounds still to go, the lung power of the politicians, cutting across party lines, appears to have overcome propriety.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's jibe on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan for an advertisement campaign on the wild ass from Gujarat has set the tone for an all-out battle of words.
The BJP, which is desperate to take power in the country's most populous state, was outraged.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has asked the Congress, the Samajwadi Party's ally, to apologise for the Akhilesh Yadav statement.
The chief minister's aide, Udayveer Singh, defended the statement, saying "It was only to suggest that in Gujarat even donkeys are glorified."
On the same day, the chief minister went on the offensive, his close aide and Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chowdhary called BJP President Amit Shah and Modi as "terrorists of democracy".
This predictably angered the saffron brigade.
BJP General Secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak alleged that the Samajwadi Party leadership was skirting major issues and indulging in verbal slang.
Stung by the continuous barbs of the prime minister on its supremo Mayawati, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has begun to respond.
To Modi's jibe in Orai when he called the BSP a 'Behenji Sampatti Party', alluding to allegations of ill-gotten money by the four-time chief minister, the BSP hit back.
Mayawati coined a new acronym for Narendra Damodardas Modi — Negative Dalit Man.
Modi earlier told campaign rallies that the four letters in the word 'Scam' stood for Samajwadi Party (S), Congress (C), Akhilesh (A) and Mayawati (M).
Congress leaders and senior Uttar Pradesh ministers like Mohd Azam Khan have in the past called the prime minister a demon, a beggar, a terrorist and what not.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently told an election rally in Fatehpur that Modi was a 'Gabbar' — the infamous villain of Bollywood hit Sholay.
It looks the atmosphere will only get more murkier.
Updated Date: Feb 21, 2017 15:26 PM