The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a major ohnosecond moment on Friday when the fledgling party put a banner on its website with the distinct message: ‘Delhi Speaks: Modi for PM, Arvind for CM’. The big political faux pas, which had the party praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ahead of Delhi elections, was soon removed from the website, but the damage had been done.
AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal received scathing criticism from people as the news went viral on social media as well as other fora on the Internet. Spoofing the party’s Kejriwal Fir Se campaign, microblogging site Twitter was abuzz with the new trend #UTurnFirSe.
The party, which has always been using all its might to criticise Modi and the BJP, did a complete u-turn when it called him a “strong leader” on a note which was placed right under the banner. As expected even that note was removed and it read: “The voters in Delhi have decided. They want a strong Prime Minister which is why they elected Narendra Modi. They now want a strong Chief Minister so that issues like corruption, inflation, better schools, transport and hospitals could be resolved. They want Arvind Kejriwal again.”
The party in a move to entice the voters of Delhi had put up the slogan to convince people that while Modi is India’s PM, Delhi had no face from any other party for the chief ministerial candidate, said a senior party leader. Clearly, the attempt seems to have backfired as the party miserably failed to gauge the reaction of the public. Even a video showing Kejriwal taking oath as Delhi’s Chief Minister in December last year was removed by the party from its website.
In his recent interviews, Kejriwal had tried to make the forthcoming Delhi elections a direct contest with BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi, hoping to tower over a relatively lesser-known leader. But, like every election since its spectacular victory in May, the BJP continues to make every election a reflection of Modi’s popularity. The move seemed as a clear attempt of the AAP to distance itself from the lok Sabha elections held earlier this year where the party performed quite poorly.
The party, however, put the blame on its volunteers and said it was not a decision of the top leadership. “Most of activities in AAP are volunteer driven and our website is also run by young enthusiasts. The image was created and uploaded by a volunteer without our approval,” said party spokesperson, Dilip Pandey.