Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Wednesday he criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP because he does not want the coming generations to say he was a silent spectator when the country was being “destroyed”.

Sidhu, who has been served a show-cause notice by the Election Commission for describing the prime minister as a “thief” in his speech in Ahmedabad, urged people to vote out the Modi government in the Lok Sabha election underway.

He also blamed Modi for the EC notice, which he has to reply by Thursday evening.

“I have been sent the notice by Modi sahab,” the cricketer-turned-politician said at an election rally in Haryana’s Ambala.

He claimed if Modi returns as prime minister, “the country will be finished”.

“I speak against BJP because coming generations should not say that when the country was being destroyed, Sidhu was watching like a silent spectator,” Sidhu said.

During the campaign, Sidhu, a former BJP leader who joined the Congress in January 2017, has ramped up his criticism of the saffron party and the prime minister.

The Commission had banned Sidhu from campaigning for 72 hours last month for his remarks that the election panel deemed were in violation of the poll code.

On Wednesday, Sidhu also addressed a rally in Chandigarh.

The Ambala meeting was in support of Congress nominee Kumari Selja, who is pitted against BJP’s sitting MP Rattan Lal Kataria.

In Chandigarh, he sought support from people for Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is contesting against sitting MP of the BJP Kirron Kher and AAP’s Harmohan Dhawan.

During the rallies, Sidhu said the BJP-led NDA government failed to honour its key promises. “Since Modi came (to power), he destroyed trade, farmers… If Modi comes this time the country will be finished,” he alleged, adding that “it is impossible” to make Modi speak truth.

“I have seen (Bollywood films) Hero No 1, Biwi No 1, Coolie No 1. Now Modi’s picture Phenku No 1 is coming soon,” he said sarcastically.

Mimicking Modi several times during his address, Sidhu reminded the prime minister of promises which the BJP had made at the time of the previous Lok Sabha election.

“You made several promises, you claimed to clean Ganga river, bring Lokpal, give 2 crore jobs, credit Rs 15 lakh into every citizen’s account and bring back black money stashed abroad,” he said, and later sang few lines of a hit Hindi film song of yesteryears “Vaada tere Vaada…”

“Modi is just a ‘jumlebaaz’,” he said.

He said that the government imposes various kinds of taxes on people, but benefits were being extended to only a few of the ruling outfit’s industrialist friends.

“Ab ki bar Modi sarkar, but I say, Ab ki bar, bus kar yaar,” he said.

He accused BJP of playing divisive politics, politics of caste, creed while alleging with this policy they are trying to disintegrate this nation.

He also said that farmers have been reduced to beggars.

“You call yourself a patriot? But you are prime minister of only one per cent capitalists, he said, attacking Modi.

“Till today BSNL, a company which is worth Rs 5.5 lakh crore, has not been given 4 G contract, while private operators are laughing all the way to bank, he said.

On ruling BJP’s claims that Congress did nothing for last 70 years, he said the BJP is trying to project as if all development has been done during the last five years.

He said it is not Modi but the people who will decide whether they want a chowkidar or not.

You think you are in power and nobody can question you. Those who question you are branded anti-nationals. If we have to save democracy, the Constitution, then you will have to vote him out,” he urged people.