The Congress on Monday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for claiming that Pakistan is helping the Congress and interfering in the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Addressing a rally at Palanpur city in the state’s Banaskantha district on Sunday, Modi had said that Mani Shankar Aiyar, who was recently suspended from the Congress party for his “neech” remarks, held secret meetings with the Pakistan high commissioner.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said at a rally in Banaskantha district on Monday that Modi should focus on Gujarat, ANI reported. “Elections are being held in Gujarat, but Modi is speaking about Japan, Pakistan or Afghanistan,” he said. “Modi ji, it is Gujarat’s elections, speak a little about the state instead.”

Congress leader Anand Sharma called Modi’s remarks “outrageous”, NDTV reported. He asked if the Congress needed to get the government’s permission for a “casual dinner” with Pakistani officials, and said the party would “force” Modi to apologise when the Winter Session of Parliament begins on December 15.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shatrughan Sinha also questioned why the ruling party brought up Pakistan to win an election. In a series of tweets, without naming the prime minister, Sinha said: “Honourable Sir! Just to win elections anyhow, and that too at the fag end of the process, is it a must to come up with and endorse new, unsubstantiated and unbelievable stories everyday against political opponents?”

He urged his party to focus on development in Gujarat, and added, “Let’s stop communalising the atmosphere and go back to healthy politics and healthy elections.”

Pakistan said on Sunday that India should not drag them into its internal affairs. “India should stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate and win victories on own strength, rather than fabricated conspiracies, which are utterly baseless and irresponsible,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said.