Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Thursday criticised the Congress’ induction of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics by launching an attack on her husband Robert Vadra. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the younger sister of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, was appointed a general secretary of the party in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Modi on Thursday described Robert Vadra, who is being investigated by several government agencies for allegedly dubious land deals, as a “tainted life partner”.

“Priyanka’s businessman husband’s irregular land transactions are spread across two states and he is facing probes,” the Bharatiya Janata Party said in a tweet. “If the Congress wants to exult over the induction of a woman with a tainted life partner, congratulations to them.”

He also mocked Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s resemblance to her grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Many expect that this will help the Congress garner more votes in the upcoming elections.

“If a person could become as capable as someone else merely by resembling him or her, by now we would have had many more Virat Kohlis and Amitabh Bachchans,” Modi added. “Duplicates do not work in politics. Priyanka might resemble Indira, but there is a big difference.”

Indira Gandhi’s husband Feroze Gandhi was a “great orator and an honest parliamentarian”, Modi said. He also had the courage to speak against his father-in-law Jawaharlal Nehru, Modi claimed.

Earlier in the day, Modi had told reporters that the Bharatiya Janata Party was not worried about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s induction. “Why should it be when her entry is only going to help us,” he asked, according to PTI. He added that Robert Vadra’s land dealings would now take centre-stage, which will only help the saffron party and its allies.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s official entry into politics came days after the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party tied up in the state for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, but excluded the Congress. Her appointment may make the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party rethink their strategy, political commentators have said.

Modi also pointed this out. “The Congress has brought in Priyanka with a view to threaten the SP-BSP alliance, with the possibility of a split in their votes,” he said. “It is a desperate attempt to make Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati rethink their strategy.”

Meanwhile, the Congress on Thursday criticised Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for commenting on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s induction into politics. “Priyanka is a good woman. But her appointment also shows Rahul has understood that he cannot do politics alone, so he asked his sister Priyanka to help him,” Mahajan had told reporters earlier in the day in Indore, according to PTI.

“I don’t want to get into the family politics of the Congress, it’s their own matter,” she had added. “But I would definitely say that a person, who has leadership capabilities, should be given an opportunity to come forward.”

Reacting strongly, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said Mahajan should only focus on the BJP’s internal matters. “So far as Congress is concerned, we are doing well without her advice and will continue to do so,” Tewari was quoted as saying by IANS.

“What matters most in politics is popularity, and Priyanka Gandhi commands massive popularity,” he added. “So BJP’s anxiety and nervousness is not unnatural.”