Narendra Modi acknowledged Arvind Kejriwal’s challenge to him in Varanasi by attacking him at an election rally in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Three AKs help Pakistan. AK-47 is used by terrorists who shed Indian blood…then there is AK Antony, the defence minister who says Indian soldiers were beheaded by persons wearing uniforms of Pakistan army, when the Army said clearly the soldiers were beheaded by Pakistan armymen,” said Mr. Modi, also alleging, “The third is AK 49 – he has just spawned a party and on his party’s official website he has given away Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan. One of his associates says there should be a referendum in Kashmir. They are speaking Pakistan’s language.”
AK 49 was a reference to Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party chief who was Delhi’s chief minister for 49 days and announced yesterday that he will contest the general elections from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh against Mr. Modi, the BJP’s candidate for Prime Minister.
Mr. Kejriwal tweeted, “Did Modi ji call me an agent of Pakistan and AK 49? Kya PM ke daawedar ko ye bhasha use karna shobha deta hai? (It does not behove a man who aspires to be PM to talk this way).”
This is the first time that Mr Modi has openly targeted Mr Kejriwal, a seeming re-assessment of the challenge posed by the taxman-turned-politician. This morning his Gujarat government issued a point by point rebuttal of allegations that the AAP chief made in Varanasi yesterday, accusing Mr. Modi of exaggerating reports of development in his state.
In Hiranagar, from where he kicked off a marathon series of 185 election rallies, Mr. Modi also invoked the legacy of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today.
“Vajpayeeji had shown us a three-pronged way of taking Kashmir forward – insaniyat (humanity), jamhooriyat (democracy), and Kashmiriyat. We must follow that path,” Mr. Modi said.