'World's sweetest terrorist': Arvind Kejriwal reacts to separatist allegation
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday hit back at his political rivals for accusing him of supporting separatism in Punjab. His retort came after Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi and others attacked him over his former party colleague Kumar Vishwas's comments. Vishwas had accused Kejriwal—whose Aam Aadmi Party is a key challenger to the ruling Congress in Punjab—of being power-hungry and supporting separatism.
- The war of words between the two chief ministers comes just days ahead of the Punjab elections.
- Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other rival leaders had also slammed the Delhi CM over the same.
- However, Channi's strike came at a time when he himself was mired in a controversy over alleged comments against migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Delhi.
Kejriwal described the allegation as "hilarious." "What were (probe) agencies during the Congress and BJP's tenure doing till now? Why did they not arrest me? This is such a humorous matter," he said at a press conference. "Perhaps I am the world's sweetest terrorist who builds hospitals, schools, (and) pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens," the AAP chief further remarked.
Late on Thursday, Channi had shared on Twitter a copy of the Election Commission's letter withdrawing the ban on broadcasting Kumar Vishwas' remarks that triggered the controversy. He urged the PM to "order an impartial enquiry" into the allegations. "Politics aside, people of Punjab have paid a heavy price while fighting separatism. Hon'ble PM needs to address the worry of every Punjabi," he added.
In the viral video statement, Vishwas had recalled a purported conversation with the AAP leader. "One day, he (Kejriwal) told me he would either become the CM (of Punjab) or the first PM of an independent nation (Khalistan)... He wants power at any cost," he could be heard saying. AAP leaders then responded saying the comments were false and should not be taken seriously.
Channi has been under fire over the past few days for his comments during a poll rally. "Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi de bhaiye cannot come here and rule. We will not allow UP bhaiyas to stray into Punjab," he had said as Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stood alongside and clapped. After a row erupted, however, the Punjab CM sought to clarify his statement.
Following a huge backlash, Channi issued a clarification on Thursday through a video, saying his previous statement had been distorted as he didn't refer to migrants from UP, Bihar, and Delhi but was talking about certain AAP leaders. "I only meant people like Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh, and Arvind Kejriwal (AAP leaders) who come from outside and cause disruptions," he said in the video.
Elections in Punjab will be held in a single phase on Sunday (February 20) and results will be declared on March 10. The Congress is fighting to retain power while the AAP has set its eyes on expanding power out of Delhi. The Bharatiya Janata Party has partnered with former CM Amarinder Singh and the Akali Dal has allied with the Bahujan Samaj Party.