The 2019 elections will be remembered for sharp attacks against political opponents, sexist jibes and campaigns with religious overtones that drew the ire of the Election Commission.
Here the top 10 quotes that made it to the headlines and triggered a debate.
1. “The Prime Minister has visited Odisha 10 times for election campaigning in one month. But he could not find time to tour the state even once in the last five years, when people were hit by natural calamities,” said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during his roadshow in Kendrapara on Saturday. He had compared his frequent visits to “election tourism”.
2. BJP is ‘bhyankar jumla party’, will snatch ‘chowki’ from ‘chowkidar’: SP leader Akhilesh Yadav said as he ridiculed the PM’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign.
3. Hamare Ali bhi hai aur Bajrang Bali bhi hai: BSP Chief Mayawati to UP CM Yogi Adityanath who had said at an election rally that if Congress, SP and BSP have faith in Ali, BJP has faith in Bajrang Bali.
The Election Commission had barred both Adityanath and Mayawati from campaigning for some days following their controversial remarks. Campaigning on religious lines is prohibited in Indian elections.
4. “Sunny Deol is a filmy ‘fauji’ (soldier), while I am a real fauji,” Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said when asked if Sunny Deol’s entry into Punjab election on a BJP ticket will have an impact on the Congress party.
5. “The Bengal voters will hand over (Narendra Modi) Rosogolla (zero vote). “What will be the rosogolla type? It will not be a regular one. We will make the sweet with clay and fill it with gravel exactly the way cashew nuts and raisins are put in ladoos so that when he will try to have a bite, his teeth will break. This type of sweet will be served to him,” Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
Her stinging attack came against the backdrop of the PM revealing in an interview that Mamata sends him sweets and personally-selected kurtas every year.
6. “If the BJP comes back to power, only one person will be responsible for it and that will be Rahul Gandhi,” Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal said, attacking the Congress president for the failure of the two parties to forge an alliance in Delhi.
7. “I brought her (Jayaprada) to Rampur. You are a witness that I did not allow anyone to touch her body. It took you 17 years to know her real face but I realised within 17 days that she wears khaki underwear,” Azam Khan said in an election rally in Rampur.
A case has now been registered against him for violating the model code of conduct.
8. “I dare the Prime Minister to a debate on the Rafale issue. I am sure after the debate is over, he will not be able to show his face to the nation,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
9. “We are not Mahatma Gandhi’s children that we keep giving and not getting anything in return,” Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said in her Sultanpur rally, implying the Muslim voters will need her once the Lok Sabha elections are over.
The Election Commission has ticked her over the controversial remark.
10. “Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will still look like a black buffalo even if he bathes 100 times,” said State BJP leader Raju Kage as he targetted the CM over his ‘make-up’ remark against PM Modi.