Mumbai: A Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Avadhut Wagh on Friday that India is fortunate to have a God-like leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that he’s the 11th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His statement immediately prompted ridicule by the Opposition, with the Congress calling it an “insult” to the gods.

“Hon PM @narendramodi ji is the 11th #Avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu (sic),” state BJP spokesperson Avadhut Wagh said on Twitter. Speaking at a Marathi channel, Wagh said, “The country is fortunate that we have got a god-like leader in Modi.”

Slamming the BJP leader for his statement on PM Modi being the 11th avatar of Lord Vishnu, a Congress leader said, “This is also an attempt to find lost political ground (by Wagh). I do not think this (comment) needs to be given much.” The remark was reflective of the “low level of culture” within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Londhe said.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Jitendra Awhad also took a dig at Wagh saying there is a need to check the BJP leader’s degree in engineering. “Wagh is an engineering graduate from VJTI. There is a need now to check if his certificate (degree) is genuine. This was not expected from him,” he said.

In 2016, Venkaiah Naidu had said that PM Modi is a “gift to the nation from God”. “He is a gift from God to the nation. Modi takes decisions keeping in mind the benefits and interests of the poor. The Modi government has implemented schemes from pensions to antodaya which are beneficial for the poor,” he told ETV News in an interview.

A few months before the “Modi god’s gift to India” remark, Naidu had called him a “messiah of the poor”. “Modi is God’s gift for India. He is the messiah of the poor. He inherited challenges in each and every sector. He is steering clear of them,” he had said.