Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday asked the state Bharatiya Janata Party chief to refrain from making disparaging comments against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, reported The Indian Express.

This came after Nalin Kumar Kateel, the BJP’s state unit chief, on Tuesday said Gandhi was a “drug addict and a drug peddler”. Kateel claimed his remarks were based on media reports about Gandhi.

During the campaigning for upcoming state Assembly bye-polls in Sindagi city, Yediyurappa said that he will speak with Kateel to know the background of his statement. “No one should speak in a derogatory way against a leader like Rahul Gandhi for whom my party workers have respect,” he said.

Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar had also condemned Kateel for his remarks.

“Yesterday [October 18] I said I believe we should be civil and respectful in politics, even to our opponents,” Shivakumar had tweeted on Tuesday. “I hope the BJP agrees with me and will apologise for their state president’s abusive and unparliamentary remarks against Shri Rahul Gandhi.”

On Kateel’s remarks, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had said on Wednesday that people resort to such behvaiour when they do not get any attention from within their own party, reported the Hindustan Times.

“When someone goes mad, he tears off his clothes, throws stones at passersby, throws tomatoes to get attention,” Surjewala said. “It is an uncultured statement made by the BJP leader in Karnataka which cannot be acceptable. Nalini Kumar Kateel being president of the party in Karnataka must apologise for his statement.”

Kateel made the statement on Gandhi after Congress Karnataka’s unit called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “angootha chhaap” or an illiterate person in a tweet.

The Congress’ state unit had withdrawn the tweet later.

Shivakumar had then tweeted: “I have always believed that civil and parliamentary language is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for political discourse. An uncivil tweet made by a novice social media manager through the Karnataka Congress official Twitter handle is regretted and stands withdrawn.”

Meanwhile, Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday criticised the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

“Haven’t we seen what they teach inside an RSS shakha [branch]?” Kumaraswamy had asked. “When the Assembly proceedings are on, watch blue films [adult movies]. This is what has been taught in their shakha’s. Should I also go there and learn such things?”

Congress leader Siddaramaiah too had spoken against the RSS.

Following their comments, Yediyurappa said that it was not good to talk about the organisation in such manner and target them unnecessarily. “Both of them are under the illusion that if they criticise RSS, they will come to power,” he said.