BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that Gandhi was "a habitual violator of the model code of conduct", and that his party had petitioned the EC over Gandhi's remarks that the BJP was a party of "thieves".

"We have sought stern action against Gandhi and the Congress," Naqvi said.

He said that Gandhi had earlier violated the model code of conduct by accusing the BJP of instigating communal riots and stating that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence was trying to get in touch with some victims of the Muzaffarabad riots in Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP had earlier petitioned the poll panel on the issue. The poll panel had conveyed its displeasure to Gandhi, and asked him to be more circumspect in his public utterances in future.

Gandhi, during a rally in Chhattisgarh, made a reference to BJP as "thieves" and asked people to vote it out in the assembly polls."I want proper utilization of your money. That's why I have come over here. I was sad because I had found a leader in Nandu Patel. I want not one, but around 500 Nand Kumar Patels (former state Congress chief who was killed by Maoists during the attack on Congress convoy)."

"I will not bring them from Delhi, I want them from the crowd here who can stand up and kick out the BJP from here... these thieves from here. That is the only way we can move forward,” Gandhi had said.

(Agencies)

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