With reports suggesting a rift between the Congress and its ally Nationalist Congress Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday dubbed the United Progressive Alliance as a "sinking ship" which is being deserted by its allies.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of being "nervous" and "scared" with the idea of the erstwhile Amethi ruler Sanjay Singh contesting against him.
"As the elections appear closer, the nervousness in the Congress Party has become more visible. Each one is frantically concerned about his own position rather than wanting the Congress Party to get ready for a spirited fight," Jaitley said.
On his attack against Gandhi, he said, "The very idea that the Raja of Amethi Sanjay Singh may contest against Rahul Gandhi was enough to scare the Congress Party's de facto prime ministerial candidate. The Raja of Amethi had to be accommodated in the Rajya Sabha from Assam.
"In the process, not only has the leader of the Congress Party displayed his personal nervousness but the party’s prospects in Assam have been considerably damaged. States in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir are particularly sensitive and want their own candidates to be elected to the Parliament."
The BJP leader said Rahul Gandhi's constituency Amethi, a fortress of the Congress Party that has been nourished by the family for four decades, is being made "secure" by creating a "firewall of sorts" around it.
He alleged that "deals are being worked out with the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party not to put up candidates from the minority community against the sitting Member of Parliament".
To substantiate his claim, Jaitley said senior leaders from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh -- who should have been leading the Congress campaign in this election -- have sought nominations for the Upper House.
Earlier, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The Congress is a sinking ship and its passengers are deserting it. Sonia cannot deliver. Manmohan Singh is past. Rahul Gandhi is a failure. They know how the Congress and UPA have made a mess of India. Allies are seeking greener pastures elsewhere."
Jaitley said the position of the allies is no different as Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Telangana Rashtra Samithi were major allies which had drifted away from the UPA while the NCP and the National Conference were doing so now.
He said the NCP has been sending out conflicting signals on a daily basis.
The National Conference, the BJP leader said, has realised that an alliance with the ruling party of New Delhi will be "counter-productive" to it in the Kashmir Valley and "It is preparing itself for a break".
Prasad had said the Congress' allies were making discordant noises.
"It is only indicative of the mood of the country," he said.
"Who else is with Congress and UPA? Chidambaram asks about BJP, I want to ask him what about Congress? (BSP chief) Mayawati and (SP chief) Mulayam are making open discordant notes. The DMK is already away from them. No allies are left for them," Prasad said.
Jaitley also hit out at the Congress -- saying that even its own chief ministers had started to defy the central leadership after the Andhra Pradesh assembly led by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday passed by voice vote a resolution rejecting the AP Reorganisation Bill-2013 -- which entails creation of a separate Telangana state.
"Most Congressmen from Andhra Pradesh led by the chief minister have decided to defy the party line on Telengana. The next in store will be cross voting in the Rajya Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh. All this could lead to split in a state which provided the largest number of seats to the Congress both in 2004 and 2009," said Jaitley.
Dismissing suggestions that the UPA was shrinking, Congress said all options are open for it to align with any party except the communal ones.
"I do not agree with the proposition at all...Before the elections, all options are always open for alliances except with communal parties," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.