A few days ago, the results for the Gujarat municipal corporation elections saw the BJP emerge as the clear winners, even as the Congress trailed behind after an abysmal performance. But for many it was the Aam Aadmi Party's unprecedented, albeit small numbers that were the highlight.
The AAP won 27 seats in the recently concluded elections, and is now eyeing loftier heights. The AAP will pitch for 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats in the polls on February 28. The party will also gear up for the Gujarat Assembly polls scheduled to take place next year.
"AAP has done well in Gujarat municipal elections. I want to thank the people of Gujarat for giving massive support to AAP. You (referring to the people in Gujarat) have given a responsibility to AAP and I assure that each party worker will work for the development of the state," party chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted. After the party's performance, he visited the western state to participate in a road show organised by local leaders on February 26 to celebrate their maiden win.
But even as the party rejoiced, the BJP pointed out that the AAP had fielded 470 candidates across all the six corporations. And while their 27-seat victory that also saw them emerge as the main opposition in the Surat Municipal Corporation was impressive, it also glossed over a few facts. As Gujarat BJP chief CR Paatil pointed out, a large number of the party's candidates had not only lost the polls, but also forfeited their deposits.
Needless to say, the criticism has not gone down well with the Delhi Chief Minister. Over the last day or so, Kejriwal has been locked in a Twitter debate with Paatil, both taking potshots at the other. It appears to have begun with the BJP leader's remark about the sheer number of AAP leaders who had lost their deposits.
"People of Gujarat are celebrating it. People of Surat celebrated it today. Everyone in Gujarat is talking abt AAP. Kindly do not underestimate the power of people," chided Kejriwal.
"Kindly do not mock and underestimate the power of common man," he added in another remark.
And while Paatil appeared to agree with Kejriwal's assessment of the common man, he turned the remark around to take a jibe at the party's poll efforts.
"Gujarati voters gave their mandate loud and clear. Out of 6 Municipal Corporation, 65 AAP candidate in Surat, 41 in Vadodara, 155 in Ahmedabad, 39 in Bhavnagar and 68 in Rajkot lost their deposit. Never underestimate the power of common man!" he mocked in a late night tweet.
Kejriwal's response came early in the morning, marvelling at the fact that the other leader had tweeted in the middle of the night. In Hindi, he listed out a litany of complaints that he said the people of Gujarat faced. The Delhi CM lamented that the same restlessness that had prompted Paatil's late night response did not inspire the need to better the lives of those in the state.