Narendra Modi, the opposition candidate for prime minister, has pledged to deport Bangladeshi immigrants from the country if he comes to power, according to reports.
"You can write it down. After May 16, these Bangladeshis better be prepared with their bags packed," Modi was quoted as saying by NDTV, an English language channel.
Modi, who is mooted by various opinion polls to become the future prime minister of India, was speaking on Sunday in Serampore of eastern Indian West Bengal state that shares boundary with Bangladesh.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader also came down heavily on the state government led by Trinamool Congress party, accusing it of "red carpet welcome" to Bangladeshi immigrants for "vote bank" politics.
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"We won't allow you to destroy the country for the sake of your vote bank politics," said Modi, whose party has a marginal presence in the state.
The controversial BJP figure had earlier in his campaign accused the local officials in the northeastern state of Assam of killing rhinos "to make way" for Bangladeshis.
The Hindu nationalist leader had said that "only Hindu" migrants from Bangladesh should be accommodated in India, drawing sharp criticism from various quarters.
Modi also directed his outburst at Mamata Banerjee, who heads the government in West Bengal, questioning the cost at which her paintings were sold.
"Earlier, your paintings used to sell for about eight, ten lakh rupees ($16,514). How, then, did your painting sell for Rs 1.8 crores ($29,7252)? Who bought it?" the Hindustan Times quoted Modi as saying.
In its reaction, TMC's senior leader Amit Mitra on Monday called Modi a "snob" and sought apology from him for what he said were "false allegations" against the state chief minister.
"Modi should publicly apologise for the comments made by him," he demanded in a press conference in the state capital Kolkata.
Source: Al Jazeera