Her comment on social networking site Facebook has landed local Congress leader and Pune Municipal Corporation’s former education board head Sangeeta Tiwari in trouble. She purportedly said in the post that people could even vote for terrorist Osama bin Laden in lieu of free things.
Posted in the wake of Aam Aadmi Party’s victory in the Delhi Assembly elections in which Congress was routed, Tiwari’s ‘status update’ says the actual “problem” does not lie with Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP leader who became Delhi Chief Minister, but with “such voters”.
The four lines in Hindi posted by Tiwari on Saturday afternoon have evoked sharp reactions from the political circle as well as the public, who have called it “humiliation” of the common man by a Congress leader who held significant public office in recent past.
While Tiwari said her Facebook account was hacked five days ago, her party has distanced itself from the controversial comment, while objecting to her behaviour on social media. Her political opponents said the post reflected “the extent to which the confidence of Congress rank and file has been shaken.”
Local Shiv Sena leader and former standing committee chairman Sham Deshpande said Tiwari owed an unconditional apology to the public for her “outrageous” and “irresponsible” remark about the common man. “Congress, so far, was boasting of the support of common man, but all of a sudden its leaders have now lost faith in them after drastic results in elections in Delhi and other states,” he said.
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BJP leader Sandeep Khardekar said Tiwari’s comment could not be ignored as she had held important public office as a Congress leader in the past. “Delhi people were fed up of Congress rule and some of them saw a political alternative in the form of Kejriwal. The Congress itself was responsible for the debacle in Delhi polls, and blaming it on the common man now makes no sense,” he said.
The AAP too reacted to Tiwari’s post. Party’s Pune district committee member Divyang Baldota said people of India developed a liking for free things as the ruling Congress had failed to arrest inflation and price rise.
When contacted, Pune Congress president Abhay Chhajed said Tiwari’s remark was personal and it had nothing to do with the party. “The common man has faith in us and we bank on their support. Tiwari’s post leans towards, kind of, extremism, and such behaviour should not be exhibited by any of our party members,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Tiwari tried to dodge the controversy, saying her Facebook profile was hacked around five months ago. However, a close look at her Facebook timeline and recent posts, some of which are very personal and family-related, does not substantiate her clarification. Police Inspector S M Babar of the cyber crime cell denied receiving any complaint about hacking of Tiwari’s Facebook account.
Despite repeated attempts, Tiwari did not receive phone calls made to her for further comments.