Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was criticised for quoting a "satirical website", BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal was caught sharing a news link that referred to Pakistan's Punjab province in a Twitter attack on Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The Congress leader had been targeted over his record of improving schools in the state; while campaigning for Delhi elections he claimed his government had set up 5,500 smart schools.
It started with Delhi SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa taking to social media to share a speech by the Chief Minister and devolved into a war of words with Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla. Mr Sirsa claimed the standard of education in Punjab had deteriorated and that the Education Minister had no answer for this decline.
"Captain Amarinder-ji, your part-time batsman - Vijay Inder Singla - ran away in the middle of innings; it is time you come to the crease and answer on deteriorating standards of education in Punjab," Manjinder Sirsa tweeted on Friday, sharing the link to a report titled "1.5 million children remain out of school in Punjab in 2019".
The report was from academiamag.com, which calls itself "Pakistan's Premier Education Magazine".
CM @capt_amarinder Ji, your part time batsman @VijayIndrSingla ran away in the middle of innings; it's time you come to the crease and answer on the deteriorating standards of education in Punjab— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) February 7, 2020
Another news report points out the sorry state of affairs -https://t.co/x2WQJKtuyChttps://t.co/XYPNXx3guW
Mr Singla later pointed out the error and accused the SAD leader of "spreading fake news and displaying utter ignorance".
"MS Sirsa, at least use the link which speaks of Punjab in India and not the Punjab in Pakistan, before spreading fake news and displaying utter ignorance. Now we know why you have been talking about schools, because you urgently need to go back to one to take basic lessons!" the Punjab minister lashed out.
.@MSSirsa at least use the link which speaks of Punjab in India & not the Punjab in Pakistan, before spreading fake news & displaying utter ignorance. Now we know why have u been talking about schools, cuz you urgently need to go back to one to take basic lessons! https://t.co/5VTDDn7Xkc— Vijay Inder Singla (@VijayIndrSingla) February 7, 2020
The Akali Dal, a member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the centre, opted out of contesting the Delhi election, after disagreements over seat-sharing. The Akalis also said their refusal to accept the contentious CAA (citizenship amendment act) in its present form, as well as the NRC (national register of citizens), was also a factor.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has released data in support of his claim of providing 11 lakh jobs. Mr Singh criticised "ignorant" SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and his colleagues, claiming they had no idea of the developments in Punjab.
Voting began for Delhi elections at 8 am today, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party looking to win a second straight term in power. The AAP romped to victory in 2015 polls, claiming 67 of the 70 seats - the BJP won the remaining three and the Congress, which had been in power for 15 years previously, drew a blank.
Results will declared on February 11.