"This has been going on for quite some time. And the entire country is watching. And an individual (Modi) who is projected to lead the country...If he is not committed to the traditions of this country to respect the elders...that is authoritarianism of the worst kind," he said.
   
Sharma was responding to a question on whether senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who was denied a party ticket from Barmer Lok Sabha constituency, was being humiliated by Modi.
   
Defying the party, Jaswant Singh today filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate from Barmer and accused party president Rajnath Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of "betraying" him.
   
On the controversy regarding the 'Har Har Modi' slogan, Sharma said it is a modification of the phrase used for Lord Shiva and has thus hurt the religious sentiments many people.
   
"It only unmasked the BJP's true character and also the characteristic double speak of BJP. It has been part of their campaign. It is there in the backdrop of their rallies, including the rallies which have been addressed by Narendra Modi, by Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders," he said.
   
"There have been strong protests...religious sentiments of a large number of people (have been hurt) because 'Har Har Mahadev' is a phrase of Lord Shiva.
   
"On one hand, Modi wants to go to Kashi, and then he wants ‘Har Har Modi’. (Is) Modi above Mahadev? How can that be accepted? Now they are running away. They do not know how to get out of this mess that is their own creation," Sharma said.
   
The BJP yesterday distanced itself from the slogan raised by its supporters in Varanasi and said its official slogan was "Ab ki baar, Modi sarkar" (This time, Modi government).
   
Sharma, who is a Rajya Member, has offered to take on Modi in Varanasi in the general election. The Congress has yet to announce who will contest against Modi in the holy city.

(Agencies)

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