Ahmedabad, Dec 9 (UNI) The first phase of frenetic electioneering for 87 Assembly seats in Gujarat, which saw fiery exchanges of words between Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, ended this evening.
The campaigning which started off mostly on development issues, slowly gathered a communal tinge when Ms Gandhi accused the BJP of being the ''merchants of death''.
This gave Modi a plea to raise the Hindutva card. He not only went ahead and justified the alleged killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a terror suspect, in an encounter but also appealed to Gujarati pride, saying 'Soniaben' has insulted the whole state, not just him personally.
Charging Sonia and her party-led UPA government with being ''the real merchants of death'', he said by repealing POTA and TADA, it showed the Congress was being soft on terrorists. He also questioned the delay in execution of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
As Election Commission sent notices to both ... picking up from para five, line one of DR22,ELECTION-GUJ-CAMPAIGN ENDS.