Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's wife and daughter have hit out at BJP leaders who called her Mr Kejriwal a "terrorist" in the acrimonious campaign for the Saturday Delhi election, calling it a "new low in politics".
"They say politics is dirty but this is a new low. Is it terrorism if health facilities are made free? Is it terrorism if children are educated? Is it terrorism if power and water facilities are ensured?" questioned the Chief Minister's daughter Harshita, 24.
BJP's Delhi MP Parvesh Verma was the first to use the term for the Chief Minister at a public meeting on January 25. "We hear instances of Hindu women picked up by Muslim men... no action is taken as terrorists like Kejriwal are hidden everywhere. Should we fight with Pakistan terrorists in Kashmir or with terrorists like Kejriwal," he had said.
The BJP leader was talking about round-the-clock agitation at Shaheen Bagh, the heart of protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, accusing Mr Kejriwal and AAP of providing support to the protesters. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday repeated the comment at a press conference. "There is a reason voters of Delhi have turned away from Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal makes an innocent face and asks - 'am I a terrorist?' -- You are a terrorist, there is plenty of proof. You had yourself said you are an anarchist; there is not much difference between an anarchist and terrorist," Mr Javadekar said.
Harshita Kejriwal and her mother hit back at the BJP. "Let them level allegations, let them bring 200 MPs and 11 Chief Ministers. Not only us... two crore common people are also campaigning (for AAP). They will show them on February 11... whether they cast votes on the basis of allegations or work done (by the government)," Harshita told news agency ANI, adding that her father made her read Bhagavad Gita, an ancient text, when she was young.
"My father has always been in social services. I still remember he used to wake us up - my brother, mother, grandparents and I - at 6 am, make us read Bhagwad Gita and sing, ''Insaan se insaan ka ho bhaichara (brotherhood among humans)'' song and teach us about it. Is this terrorism?" she asked.
Mr Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal echoed similar views. "I think people will give them (BJP leaders) a befitting reply. It's been 25 years since we are married. He (Arvind) has always told social service is his passion. Those who are saying even they know are lying... either they are under some sort of pressure or they lack an individual identity," she told ANI.
Mr Kejriwal had said he was "hurt" at being dubbed a terrorist "despite everything he had done" for Delhi. "In what way am I a terrorist? How can they label me a terrorist? I have dedicated my life to serve the people of Delhi. I have worked as their elder son. I have worked to ensure that they get free water, free electricity, get good facilities like schools and hospitals. Now it is for the people of Delhi to decide what I am," the Chief Minister told NDTV on Tuesday.
(With inputs from ANI)