With only two days left for Delhi to vote for the Lok Sabha election, the tiff between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi has intensified over the circulation of derogatory posters against the former's East Delhi candidate Atishi.
AAP on Friday filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) over the derogatory and casteist remarks against her. The party will also lodge complaints with the Election Commission of India and the Delhi Police.
“If BJP and Gautam Gambhir can do this with an empowered woman then how will he ensure security to rest of women? We have filed a complaint with Delhi Commission of Women; we will soon file a complaint with the Election Commission and Delhi Police,” news agency ANI quoted Atishi as saying.
Gambhir, on the other hand, said he would request AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to draft his resignation letter, which he would tender publically, if he is proven guilty.
“If he has proof, then he must bring it today. My resignation would be written by Arvind Kejriwal and I will sign it publicly," he told ANI.
"If they have proof I am ready to take retirement from politics today itself. I will take retirement on May 23 if they come with proof but what if he doesn't turn up with proof? Will he resign as Delhi Chief Minister and retire from politics?" he said.
On Friday, Gambhir sent a defamation notice to Atishi, Kejriwal, and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, demanding an unconditional apology for making "defamatory" comments against him.
This came hours after Atishi, while addressing media in the national capital, claimed that pamphlets were being circulated with derogatory and casteist remarks against her.
Twitterverse, meanwhile, was quick in picking up the controversy and the hashtag #IStandWithAtishi rapidly gained mileage with thousands disparaging the pamphlet.
From senior journalist Barkha Dutt to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, people supported Atishi and told BJP it was "better to lose with dignity than to lose all dignity".
Only women are subjected to crap about husbands, lovers, imagined moral violation & sexual judgement/ innuendos.I would never take a political side as a journalist but for utter misogyny @AtishiAAP has been through, if nothing else, she should be in Parliament. #IStandWithAtishi— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) May 9, 2019
The letter circulated about @AtishiAAP is a new, distressing and disturbing low.— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) May 9, 2019
The BJP needs to realise that it's better to lose with dignity than to lose all dignity.
Have to say as a woman I am furious that I saw a woman as accomplished as @AtishiAAP who has done wonders with Delhi’s education cry because of a cheap slanderous pamphlet. We have all faced character assassination & you will emerge victorious.#IStandWithAtishi— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) May 9, 2019
it doesn't matter which party you support or if you are even concerned about politics... Does it churn your stomach when you watch a strong woman being shamed and called names because she dared to stand up? Mine does. Because I have a mind and a spine. #IStandWithAtishi , do you?— harish iyer 🏳️🌈 (@hiyer) May 9, 2019
Nobody will believe Gautam Gambhir is behind this vile pamphlet. Nor will BJP's campaign team commit political suicide saying "SCs are not handsome".— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) May 9, 2019
As for motives, AAP stands to gain by politically milking this and trying to get sympathy in a losing battle. #IStandWithAtishi pic.twitter.com/7gZzqlwEmu
Gambhir too gained his support from netizens who accused the AAP of fabricating pamphlets against their own candidate to gain sympathy votes. #IStandWithGambhir was the top India trend on Friday morning.
Gautam Gambhir also got support from his cricketer friend Harbhajan Singh, who vouched the sportsman was unlikely to disrespect a woman.
I am shocked to note yesterday’s events involving @GautamGambhir. I know him well and he can never talk ill for any woman. Whether he wins or loses is another matter but the man is above all this— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) May 10, 2019
#IstandwithGautamGambhir Gambhir is a gentleman. He can never abuse woman for any reason. He has represented India on many occasions. This whole drama of pamphlet is a lame attempt of #aap to malign his image. Pathetic politics by kejriwal— Dinesh Sharma (@dks2410) May 10, 2019
The Man who is bold in his decision whether stand with our soldier or welfare for our soldier @GautamGambhir .— pradeep kumar (@pradeep_shaan) May 10, 2019
N @ArvindKejriwal is famous for cheap politics. U have to pay for this @ArvindKejriwal on 23rd may!! People are not fool! #IstandwithGautamGambhir #IStandWithGambhir
Respected @GautamGambhir Sir,— Dr Ishan Sheth🇮🇳 (@ShethIshan) May 9, 2019
You are our National Hero. Don't be distracted by AAP's dirty tricks. Ignore them as you used to ignore opposite team's bad player. Just like cricket, play your natural game and WIN IT. All The Best Sir.👍#IStandWithGambhir#IstandwithGautamGambhir pic.twitter.com/gjs3ruU8zi
Delhi, which has seven Lok Sabha seats at stake, will go to polls on May 12. East Delhi constituency will witness a triangular contest between Gambhir, Atishi and Congress' Arvinder Singh Lovely.
Counting of votes will take place on May 23.