Bharatiya Janata Party MP Vijay Goel on Thursday likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mahatma Gandhi, a day ahead of the latter's birth anniversary, terming both as "saints of Sabarmati".
Goel put up a hoarding, bearing images and stanzas eulogising Modi along with the Mahatma, in front of his official residence in Ashoka Road, just opposite the BJP headquarters.
"De di duniya me pahchan nai, uncha kiya bhal, Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamal (Gave a new identity in the world, increased stature; Sabarmati's saint, you have done wonders)," it said describing Modi, carrying his picture.
The lines are a play on a song from the 1954 movie Jagriti.
"De di hame azadi bina kharag bina dhal, Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamal," are the original lines, and they have been used to describe Gandhi in the banner as well. The move invited political reactions with Congress hitting out at Goel, and the Janata Dal-United, the Aam Aadmi Party taking jibes at the BJP.
"BJP's Vijay Goel compares Mahatma Gandhi with PM.This is sycophancy at its worst. Even a self obsessed man like Mr Modi may feel embarrassed," Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed tweeted.
When contacted, Goel said that he was "not comparing" the personalities who he said were "saints in their own rights".
"While Gandhi had liberated the country, Modi is liberating us from corruption, poverty and has invigorated the entire nation by his relentless work. Modi is working like a saint by sacrificing his personal life for the country. Even the foreign countries and their media are admitting this," Goel said.
JD-U President Sharad Yadav took potshots at Goel saying the BJP leader is doing all this to get a ministerial berth in Narendra Modi government.
"Goelji could not become a minister. He is very pained at not being included into the Council of Ministers. Goel is my friend. He should have been given a place there. Since he is not getting that, he is doing all this," Yadav said.
AAP spokesperson Ashutosh said the situation was "amusing".