A crass comment by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi – he said his Delhi counterpart, Arvind Kejriwal, should be given Rs 5,000 to get a “suit-boot” – invited a pointed retort from the AAP leader, who then switched focus to the ruling Congress’s track record ahead of next year’s election.
“Channi sahib, you don’t like my clothes. No problem… (but) leave the clothes. When will you fulfill these promises,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted – a reference to promises made ahead of the 2017 election.
“When will you give employment to every unemployed; When will you waive the loans of farmers; Why not send those guilty of sacrilege (a reference to the 2015 desecration case) to jail; When will action be taken against tainted ministers, MLAs and officers?”
Earlier Mr Channi – who last month replaced Amarinder Singh – was asked by news channel ABP about Mr Kejriwal’s comment that the Congress had made a “tamasha (mockery)” of Punjab.
चन्नी साहिब, आपको मेरे कपड़े पसंद नहीं। कोई बात नहीं। जनता को पसंद हैं
कपड़े छोड़ो। ये वादे कब पूरे करोगे?
1. हर बेरोज़गार को रोज़गार कब दोगे
2. किसानों के क़र्ज़े कब माफ़ करोगे
3. बेअदबी के दोषियों को जेल क्यों नहीं भेजते
4. दागी मंत्रियों, MLA और अफ़सरों पर ऐक्शन कब लोगे https://t.co/EKw2rd8qdB
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 6, 2021
Mr Channi responded by asking if Mr Kejriwal did not have a “suit-boot” – a reference to one of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s go-to jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling BJP.
“Do you have Rs 5,000? Everyone has it. Give it to him (Mr Kejriwal) too… at least he can get nice clothes… can’t he get a suit-boot? His salary is Rs 2,50,000, can’t he get nice clothes,” he said.
Last month Mr Kejriwal, while on a visit to Chandigarh, told reporters the Congress’ leadership crisis in the state was “unfortunate” and that “Punjab has been reduced to tamasha“.
“People don’t know where to go. Punjab Chief Minister should fulfill promises made by Captain Amarinder Singh and act against tainted ministers, MLAs, and officers. Mastermind behind the 2015 sacrilege incidents should be booked,” he told reporters.
The AAP and the Congress are set to go head-to-head in next year’s Assembly election.
Mr Kejriwal has visited Punjab frequently and has promised major incentives for the people if they vote for the AAP, including free electricity (up to 300 units) and a waiver on previous bills.
“This is Kejriwal’s promise, not Captain’s (Amarinder Singh) vows. We deliver our promises. Captain’s promises haven’t been fulfilled even after five years,” he declared in Chandigarh in June.
The Congress in Punjab is teetering on the edge after a prolonged and bitter feud between Amarinder Singh and the party’s state chief, Navjot Sidhu, exploded last month.
Mr Singh declared himself “humiliated” by his rival’s constant needling and the lack of support from the Congress’ high command (who have backed Mr Sidhu) and quit.
Several of the barbs Navjot Sidhu flung at Amarinder Singh were linked to the questions Mr Kejriwal raised in his tweet today, including a delay in justice for those who died during police action that followed protests against desecration of Sikh religious texts in 2015.