Even if we accept it as a battle of sorts, the parliamentary elections in our country should not turn into a slugfest or a mud-slinging duel, which demeans the whole democratic process. The political parties should give India’s 81.45 crore-odd voters a fair opportunity to elect a government of their choice.

The election heat has obscured a number of important issues. During his ongoing campaign, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, while taking a dig at his opponents, referred to Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal as ‘AK-49’.

Modi was referring to the Kejriwal-led government in Delhi that lasted for only 49 days. He tweeted that 3 AKs are very popular in Pakistan: AK-47, AK Antony & AK-49. Apart from Kejriwal (AK49) and AK Antony, Modi also referred to Prashant Bhushan, who allegedly backed the referendum in Kashmir.

In recent times, Modi has also referred to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as ‘shehzada’.

Past instances show that Modi and his colleagues from the BJP have used most inappropriate language while referring to their political rivals, particularly leaders from the Congress party, before polls. One can recall the most controversial remarks by late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan directed at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi during the 1999 general elections. He had to face a flood of criticism outside and as well as within his party circles when he said that the people of India might as well have Monica Lewinsky as their prime minister, if they were keen on having a foreigner in command. Although Mahajan subsequently clarified that he did not intend to equate Sonia Gandhi with Lewinsky, he had to face severe embarrassment.

Mrs Gandhi too had to face criticism when she used the term maut ke saudagar while campaigning in Gujarat.

In their desperation to leave a lasting impression on the public, they should not stoop so low. The election should be a battle of ideologies, and not a slander campaign.