First came the attack on Arvind Kejriwal (and defence minister AK Antony) by BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi: Modi Calls 'AK-49' Kejriwal and AK Antony Agents of Pakistan
It was clearly not just an off the cuff remark by Mr Modi, but a well thought out strategy, as the BJP, officially, on its own YouTube page, released the above video which includes snippets of those speeches and oral statements by Aam Aadmi Party's Prashant Bhushan which he had carefully clarified later by way of a written statement of his stand on Jammu & Kashmir on January 6, 2014
The AAP has responded by releasing the following statement:
BJP & their PM candidate recently claimed that Arvind Kejriwal is an 'agent of Pakistan' in India as AAP shows Kashmir as part of Pakistan on its official website, without actually bothering to check Aam Aadmi Party's official website. It seems they have done this on basis of manipulated reports about a non-official volunteer website which used an external API for showing donations trends on a map, where a part of J&K was not marked since there are no donations from that part of J&K. It would have served BJP PM candidate well to check India's Map on BJP's own website contact page where Kashmir region is indicated as disputed through dotted lines.
While its well known that countless BJP trolls do such senseless propaganda but one would expect official BJP channels & its PM candidate to be more responsible while making such claims atleast in the public domain. Such malicious propaganda also raises doubts on the intentions of BJP claims about serving the people of country.
To drive the point home, Kejriwal also retweeted a tweet which pointed out that the RSS itself had a similar map on its site:
Before that, on Wednesday, Mr Modi had tweeted
People of Delhi had a unique experience recently! They saw a unique coalition between Congress A team & B team http://t.co/eK8yYfL6RN— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 26, 2014
Mr Kejriwal joined the battle by tweeting back:
@narendramodi No sir. The unique experience was that BJP and Cong came together to defeat anti-corruption Janlokpal Bill.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 26, 2014
That was not all. AAP also joined issue with Mr Modi by releasing a detailed statement countering his other charges in Wednesday's speech:
The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Mr Narendra Modi has made an unsuccessful attempt to mislead the people of Delhi by distorting and hiding facts about the imposition of President’s rule in the national capital. Mr Modi, in his speech on Wednesday evening betrayed nervousness by presenting his half baked facts about the Delhi assembly and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
He referred to Delhi being indirectly ruled by the Congress through its appointed Lieutenant Governor, despite having been routed in the December assembly elections and blamed the AAP for this situation.
Mr Modi, however, conveniently chose not to spell out the BJP’s stand on the imposition of President’s rule in Delhi. His party has been surprisingly silent on the issue since February 14 and the people of the national capital are eagerly awaiting the BJP’s response before the Supreme Court on March 31.
It is the AAP which has challenged the Congress-led UPA’s central government decision of keeping the assembly in suspended animation in the Supreme Court and not Mr Modi and his party, despite a volley of irresponsible allegations levelled by him. If Mr Modi and his party are seriously concerned about Delhi being under President’s rule then what has prevented the BJP so far in making its stand public on whether it wants fresh assembly elections or not ?
Did the BJP’s Delhi unit and central leadership not inform its Prime Ministerial candidate that its MLAs had joined hands with the Congress in the Delhi assembly on February 14 to defeat the introduction of the Janlokpal bill by the AAP government ?
Is Mr Modi unaware that his party’s Delhi unit has so far shied away from expressing any opinion on the decision of the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet’s recommendation to the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the state assembly when it resigned after its proposal on Janlokpal was defeated in the assembly ?
Mr Modi is merely shedding crocodile tears on Delhi being under President’s rule since the BJP helped the Congress-led UPA government in getting the interim budget for the capital passed in the Parliament, despite the fact that it included many anti-people measures.
Mr Modi and his party should make public their stand on whether they want fresh assembly elections in Delhi or not and whether they agree with the union home ministry’s affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court that there is a possibility of the BJP attempting to form a government in Delhi ?
Why is the BJP hesistant to come out clean on this issue ? Is it afraid of facing the electorate of Delhi ?
The AAP will not allow the BJP to spread misinformation on the issue of people of Delhi being denied their democratic right to elect a new government.
The AAP will expose the BJP and Congress attempts to keep Delhi under President’s rule and will take its fight to the people, who have suffered due to the unholy alliance between these two parties.
Mr Kejriwal also made public a letter from Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, pointing out:
"Mr. Modi’s Govt clearly recommends a gas price formula which if you insert the current market price of Brent crude crosses $14 which is even higher than what the UPA very generously recommends to favour Reliance. The logic of this formula is the same as the market value logic of the UPA - only higher. With such compelling evidence, how the BJP expects anyone to believe their startlingly misleading press release is worrying.
AAP also took pains to rubbish the BJP's various other charges in detail:
On Farmer suicides and agriculture growth:
The BJP rebuttal claiming the state of Gujarat has made “excellent arrangement for infrastructure and inputs” that have “been able to avoid farmer sucides” is shockingly tragic and removed from the data available. Below is the data from the National Crime Records Bureau of farmer suicides with links to the official page of the web site. This is the only authentic data for farmer suicides for the country. On what data the BJP based it’s press release or the Modi Govt it’s claims we are keen to see.
On Modi's position on FDI:
The BJP is posturing against FDI for now, but Narendra Modi is for FDI as was clear in Delhi at a traders meeting when asked on the issue of FDI in retail, Mr. Modi shot back with the question that why are the traders scared of international competition? This clearly establishes his position.
On AAP being soft on Congress:
The BJP’s assertion of the AAP not taking up issues of Congress corruption and Sonia Gandhi’s family’s corruption is totally removed from reality. The BJP is attempting convenient amnesia. Arvind Kejriwal’s press conference focusing the nations attention on Robert Vadra’s corrupt land deals was the first time Congress’ first family’s corruption was taken up aggressively. The papers and evidence of Mr. Robert Vadra’s sweet and corrupt deals were with Arun Jailty for almost a year before Arvind Kejriwal’s press conference on the same. Why did the BJP’s Mr. Jaitly not go public with the corruption of the Gandhi family? Is it because of the tactical understanding between BJP and Congress? In such circumstances accusing the AAP being soft on the Congress is nothing short of ridiculous. Blatant lies and falsehoods without stating anything based on specific facts can hardly be treated as a serious rebuttal and we hope all who release such frivolous press releases double check the claims before running them.
Clearly, the battle lines are drawn, and the BJPs prime ministerial candidate has perhaps acknowledged by his direct attack on Mr Kejriwal that the challenge from AAP is being taken seriously.