Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A war of words has erupted in Madhya Pradesh over Rahul Gandhi's 'PM means Panauti Modi' remark with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hitting back at the Congress leader, calling him "slow-witted".
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, however, defended Gandhi over the use of the word.
At an election rally in Rajasthan on Tuesday, Gandhi said, "PM means Panauti Modi", insinuating the prime minister's presence at the Ahmedabad stadium during the India-Australia Cricket World Cup final brought bad luck to the home side, which lost the decider.
Reacting to the statement, Madhya Pradesh BJP chief V D Sharma told reporters, "Rahul Gandhi exhibited his 'mandbuddhi' (slow-witted) status by making such a statement against the world's most popular leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi." Gandhi insulted 130 crore people of the state by using the word 'Panauti', he said.
"A major reason why the Congress is losing its existence today is Rahul Gandhi and his terminology," Sharma added.
Congress's Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh, on the other hand defended Gandhi over his remark.
In a post on X, Singh said the word 'Panauti' carries a negative meaning.
"The word 'Panauti' is used for a person who brings misfortune or bad news to the people around him, that is why it is called a negative word. When some work remains incomplete then that person is called 'Panauti'," he said.
The former chief minister said that as soon as the World Cup started, this word started trending on social media.
"For whom was this word used? There were thousands of people at the stadium. Why did the BJP consider Modiji as 'Panauti'? For them, he is a world leader," he said.