Updated: December 16, 2015 11:52:26 am
At 10.29 am, Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Modi is a coward and a psycopath (sic)”. Almost immediately, BJP president Amit Shah was handed a printout of the tweet by staff at his “back office” in the outhouse of his residence on 11, Akbar Road.
Taking note of the political undertones of the tweet from the Delhi Chief Minister, who has been a “constant irritant” for the BJP and Congress since the 2014 assembly elections, Shah reached Parliament during the lunch break and headed straight to the office of Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
By then, officials at Singh’s office and Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh, who is in charge of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions — the coordinating ministry for CBI — had informed reporters that the raid on Tuesday was “not on the CM’s office” but on that of his Principal Secretary.
This was the “official” line spelt out by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha. Incidentally, some Congress leaders, too, privately expressed their disapproval at Kejriwal’s choice of words.
“It is not good for the country,” said a senior Congress leader from Kerala.
Shah, who had been lying low since the Bihar defeat, met Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, too. At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was kept in the loop about the developments.
Initially, Kejriwal’s words shocked the BJP but after a couple of hours, its leaders began to counter the onslaught.
Between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm, Shah tried to portray that everything was “normal” and responded to questions from journalists, including one on the tweet although he insisted that his reaction be kept off the record.
Meanwhile, the BJP machinery was activated to “justify the raid” against IAS officer Rajendra Kumar who has been accused of corruption when Congress leader Sheila Dikshit was chief minister.
Kumar is considered “a bright officer”, said a Congressman who has worked with Dikshit. “But Chief Minister Dikshit got many complaints against Kumar when he was working in the VAT department. He was transferred to the Ministry of Education,” claimed the party member.
At the same time, sources claimed, the then Congress government suspected that Kumar was close to Kejriwal, and that the two used to meet in secret. It was not a surprise, sources said, that when Kejriwal was sworn in as chief minister, one of his first decisions was to bring in Kumar.
BJP sources said they were “confident” that the CBI would be able to make a case of corruption against Kejriwal’s trusted officer. “Kejriwal’s anger is artificial. His political life runs on two planks — corruption and the votes of the poorest of the poor living in jhuggi-bastis. He is angry to see that both are shaky,” said sources.
Incidentally, some senior BJP leaders were more shocked by Kejriwal’s late-afternoon outburst against PM Modi and Jaitley than his tweet.
Shaking with anger, Kejriwal alleged that the CBI was looking for files related to the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) and Jaitley who was its former chief.
BJP leaders were quick to react. “DDCA is a Section 25 company. No profit can be taken out of it. Also, Kejriwal has no jurisdiction to file any complaint against the managers of DDCA, which included Jaitley years ago,” said one BJP leader.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.