A tweet by the AAP's Raghav Chadha - in which he calls Punjab Congress chief Navjot Sidhu "the Rakhi Sawant" of the state's politics - has triggered outrage online with furious Twitter users criticising Mr Chadha for a display of "despicable misogyny" and demanding he apologise to Ms Sawant.
Mr Chadha's offensive and sexist swipe came after Mr Sidhu today posted a tweet mocking Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his government's notification (in December last year) of one of the centre's three contentious farm laws.
"The Rakhi Sawant of Punjab politics - Navjot Singh Sidhu - has received a scolding from (the) Congress high command for non-stop rant against Capt. (Chief Minister Amarinder Singh) ... therefore today, for a change, he went after Arvind Kejriwal," Raghav Chadha tweeted.
"Wait till tomorrow for he shall resume his diatribe against Capt. with vehemence."
Mr Sidhu wasted no time responding, telling Mr Chadha: "They say man descended from the apes and the monkeys, Looking at your mind Raghav Chadha... I believe you are still descending."
He then reminded Mr Chadha: "You still haven't answered my question about notifying the farm laws..."
They say man descended from the apes and the monkeys, Looking at your mind @raghav_chadha I believe you are still descending ! You still haven't answered my question about notifying the Farm Laws by your Government.— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) September 17, 2021
Mr Chadha's tweet - a signal, perhaps, of outrageous verbal spats to come between the AAP and the Congress as they (and the BJP and Akali Dal) prep for next year's election - has been heavily criticised.
Former AAP member Alka Lamba, who is now the Congress, was among those to react; Ms Lamba said the comment showed the mentality of the AAP, and that she equated it with the RSS's thinking.
Didn't expect this awful misogyny from you Raghav. You have to conflate an insult to a rival with a woman. Shameful. Apologise to Rakhi Sawant https://t.co/Qvk1DY9Bhf— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) September 17, 2021
Misogyny continues to dominate Indian politics. Criticism of a rival cannot be done without dragging in a woman's name. Shame on you Raghav. https://t.co/BmyvsGTl44— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) September 17, 2021
Excuse me, what has Rakhi Sawant to do with this? https://t.co/7rFoQ56TPY— Bobins Abraham Vayalil (@BobinsAbraham) September 17, 2021
Why should a woman be slighted slight another man ? Rakhi Sawant has worked her way up too - let's respect her work https://t.co/1NyK7x7MMN— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) September 17, 2021
Some Twitter users declared they had lost respect for Mr Chadha and that "Rakhi Sawant deserves more respect than people like you".
I am completely in support for Rakhi Sawant to file a defamation suit against Raghav Chadha.— Ganesh Mantravadi (@ganeshmantra) September 17, 2021
Misogynistic men needs to be thought a lesson.
And why would you drag Rakhi Sawant into this? https://t.co/t5bDOLQWlg— Shohini Bose (@bose_shohini) September 17, 2021
This is of extreme poor taste. You can criticize someone without drawing a parallel of another one. What is so wrong of being Rakhi Sawant? What is the message? Delete this tweet! https://t.co/Zikjpin7Zf— Ananth Bhaskaran (@anotherananth) September 17, 2021
Some users even declared Ms Sawant should sue Mr Chadha.
Rakhi Sawant should sue you for this tweet— Vivkn_Indian ???????? (@Vivkn2) September 17, 2021
Shame on you .. dragging rakhi sawant .. she's self made Indian women who's been in the industry for more of your age still taking care of herself and her family for the hard work she does— Dhruvi Gandhi (@DhruviGandhi26) September 17, 2021
Earlier today Mr Sidhu tweeted a video statement in which he attacked Mr Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party (in power in Delhi) over its stance on the farm laws.
"Exploitation of farmers and decreasing prices even on crops where MSP is announced - Arvind Kejriwalji... you notified Private Mandi's central black law! Has it been denotified or is the masquerade is still going on?" he asked, tagging the AAP's primary and Punjab handles.
The Rakhi Sawant of Punjab politics -Navjot Singh Sidhu- has received a scolding from Congress high command for non stop rant against Capt. Therefore today, for a change, he went after Arvind Kejriwal. Wait till tomorrow for he shall resume his diatribe against Capt with vehemence https://t.co/9SDr8js8tA— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) September 17, 2021
Mr Sidhu's attack came a day after he trained his guns at Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal, accusing him, his party and his family of laying the groundwork for the farm laws.
In December last year Mr Kejriwal and his government drew heavy criticism after notifying one of the centre's three laws and saying that the other two were "under examination".
The AAP said the notification allowed farmers to sell at markets of their choice; sales of farm products were de-regulated in Delhi years ago and this holds for food grains too, it argued.
Political rivals were quick to claim double standards as the party and Mr Kejriwal had openly supported the farmers in their protests; one of the key fears voiced by the farmers has been that these laws will, effectively, dismantle the mandi, or wholesale, markets.
The notification also triggered a war of words with Amarinder Singh, who accused Mr Kejriwal and the AAP of having "no shame". The AAP hit back by declaring Mr Singh had colluded with the BJP.
With input from PTI