It is not uncommon for political rivals to go to any length ahead of a crucial state poll to show each other down. But a recent incident in Uttar Pradesh is being seen as a new low, even for Indian poll politics. A Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leader in the state on Tuesday compared Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati to a prostitute for allegedly "selling tickets to the highest bidder".
UP state vice president, Dayashankar Singh, was seen making the comparison on camera, in front of reporters.
"Even a prostitute fulfils her contract. But Mayawati sells party tickets to the highest bidder. She'll sell it for a crore. But when someone offers her two crores, she'll sell it to the person. In the evening if someone offers her three crores, she'll sell a party ticket to him," Singh said.
"She's worse than a prostitute," he told reporters.
People are tired of the BSP, Singh claimed, and are looking at BJP as an alternative in the state that goes to polls in 2017.
Mayawati, four-time chief minister of the state, is in a tough four-way battle with the Samajwadi Party, BJP, and Congress for one of India's most politically significant state.
It's also not the first time that strong, women leaders in Indian politics have been under sexist attacks by political opponents. BJP leader and former Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani's past as a TV actress is routinely dragged into debates by online trolls to cast aspersion on her abilities as a minister.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi's commitment to Indian politics comes under scrutiny because of her Italian descent. It remains to be seen if the BJP leadership takes any action against Singh.