Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has criticised Congress MP Rahul Gandhi for resigning as party president and leaving it without a leader, The Indian Express reported on Friday. Gandhi had announced on July 3 that he would no longer lead the Congress, and asked the party’s leadership to find a replacement soon.

Chouhan told reporters in the city of Nagpur in Maharashtra that the Congress parliamentarian was “a ‘nakli [fake]’ Gandhi fulfilling the dream of ‘asli [real]’ Gandhi of party’s dissolution after Independence”. He also blamed the former Congress president for “deserting the ship when the captain should be the last to leave”.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the Opposition party was in dire straits. “There is a stampede in the party and the party is on ventilator,” he added. “In such a situation, instead of getting into action mode, Rahul Gandhi left the party rudderless.”

Chouhan said the BJP did not waste time rejoicing after the Lok Sabha election win, and had started working on expanding its organisation by launching a membership drive, PTI reported. Chouhan has been put in charge of the exercise.

“This is not for electoral gains,” he said. “The BJP is not an election-oriented party. The BJP is a campaign for national rejuvenation. When one should dig in and work hard, the president of that party [Congress] is missing from action.”

Chouhan said the BJP was not toppling governments anywhere. “There is no one in Congress who will do crisis management,” he added. “Who would Congress MLAs go to as there is no one to listen to them? If it falls under its own weight, what can we do?”