Courtiers around the “naamdar” believe Naxals and Maoists are revolutionaries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday in a sharp attack against Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Modi, who often refers to Gandhi as “naamdar” (dynast), was addressing a rally ahead of the December 7 elections in this Rajasthan town.

“Raag darbari of the naamdar say Naxals and Maoists are revolutionaries,” he told the gathering.

Close aides of the “naamdar” refer to the Army chief as street thugs, Modi said, asking whether they could protect the nation. Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit last year triggered a row after he likened Army Chief General Bipin Rawat to a “goon on the street”, prompting the BJP to demand his expulsion. The Congress distanced itself from the remarks. Dikshit withdrew his remarks and apologised