There was a time when Indira Gandhi toady and once-Bihar Governor D. K. Barua had created quite a national outcry when he made the infamous 1974 statement “India is Indira; Indira is India” as the former Prime Minister and Congress leader’s opponents regressed to clutching their pearls while condemning the level of sycophancy within the Congress party that existed at the time.

Fast forward 47 years. Suvendu Adhikari, former minister and a member of the Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Party (TMC) who quit the party last December only to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while campaigning in East Medinipur in West Bengal on Friday, said that speaking against Prime Minister Narendra Modi was speaking against democracy and speaking against ‘Bharat Mata’.

"He is a duly elected Prime Minister of India. Speaking against him is like speaking against democracy. Speaking against him is speaking against Bharat Mata,” Adhikari said during a press conference in East Medinipur.

BJP has fielded the former TMC leader against his former boss Mamata Banerjee from Nandigram constituency in the West Bengal Assembly elections that are to be held at 294 seats in eight phases starting March 27.

Reacting to Adhikari’s not-so-subtle devotion to Narendra Modi, the West Bengal Chief Minister called him ‘Mir Zafar’, or a traitor who stabbed her in her back for pure political gains.

Voters in Nandigram go to polls on April 1 in the second phase of the election.