Twitter has now become the preferred sparring platform for many, and the past week has been rather eventful for us Indians. Take, for instance, Twitter wars between tennis champion Sania Mirza and cricket commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, then the several bouts between cricketer Virender Sehwag and British TV journalist Piers Morgan and now – in continuum – the sparring between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh.
The two engaged in a war of words after Kejriwal accused the Congress’ Punjab CM hopeful of using “drug money” in his campaign. Singh put out a stinging response to Kejriwal, saying he was “hallucinating” and seeing things that “don’t exist”. The two leaders have been increasingly trading barbs on Twitter as the Assembly election nears.
“Sir, ppl talking in Punjab that u using (Bikram Singh) Majithia’s drug money in ur campaign. Is it true? U had saved him from CBI enquiry 3 yrs back (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted. Majithia is Punjab’s Revenue Minister. Singh was quick to respond, saying Kejriwal was “seeing stars during the day”. “When your hopes crash from 100 to 30 & still sliding, you’re bound to hallucinate & see things that don’t exist,” Singh tweeted.
Kejriwal has been alleging a “nexus” between Congress and the ruling Akalis in poll-bound Punjab. He has dubbed Singh their “joint chief ministerial candidate”. “Sir, Badals closed corruption cases against u just a few months before elections. Why? Punjab asking what’s the deal?” Kejriwal had tweeted yesterday, responding to which Singh asked the AAP chief to “set his own house in order, before he sets his sights on Punjab”.
Kejriwal was referring to Punjab Vigilance Bureau’s clean chit to Singh in his alleged role in the Amritsar Improvement Trust land scam case.
In a very Trump versus Clinton fashion, Singh had had enough and challeneged Kejriwal to an open debate. “Now that you’ve shot your mouth, don’t scoot like you typically do!Show courage & come for an open debate. Choose the time, place & platform”, he said. Kejriwal, not one to back down, accepted his challenge: “I accept ur challenge sir. I suggest 4 names- H S Phoolka, Jarnail Singh, Bhagwant or Gurpreet. Speaker, date, time, place of ur choice”.
The gauntlet was picked up, but with a rider it seemed, which did not go down well with Singh, who asked why Kejriwal wouldn’t debate directly. The latter responded saying he would debate with Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi any time, but his Punjab team would take on Singh.
While all this was on, there were quite a few who were enjoying the exchange from the sidelines. One user commented: “Captain Amarinder Singh’s takedown of Arvind Kejriwal is the funniest thing I’ve read all day long”.
Captain Amarinder Singh’s takedown of Arvind Kejriwal is the funniest thing I’ve read all day long pic.twitter.com/fQtN4M9Km5
— Gautham Gururaj (@gauthamgururaj) October 24, 2016
Though, initially, supporters from both teams took equal potshots at the politicians and the rivals, soon the hashtag #CaptainKnocksOutKejriwal started trending on Twitter. Sarcastic tweets and memes soon started doing the rounds:
— Sudhanshu S. Singh (@sssingh21) October 24, 2016
— pooja saxena (@pooja1137) October 24, 2016
@capt_amarinder But sir, In 2002 you accused badals of 3500 crore scam but never arrested them ? thtsWhy Punjabis kicked you out in 2007
— Kumauni (@tterIndia) October 24, 2016
— Aryan Vulcan (@dinonysus7) October 24, 2016
— Sneha Arora (@Arora_Sneha01) October 24, 2016
Kejriwal soon noted the onslaught that was coming his way, what with both BJP and Congress supporters seemingly playing from the same side.
??, ????? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??? ?? debate ?? ????? ?? ????? ????, ???? ??????? ?? ??, ???? BJP ?? ???? ???? ????? defend ?? ??? ??? https://t.co/lMcudF31O9
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 24, 2016
To this, Singh commented: “Morning you started with Majithia,now you’re bringing in BJP,next you’ll say Donald Trump is conspiring with me against you.”
Morning you started with Majithia,now you’re bringing in BJP,next you’ll say Donald Trump is conspiring with me against you. https://t.co/jiK22ycMQD
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 24, 2016
Well, this Twitter debate seems far from over, but going by how this panned out, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that people collectively seem to be rooting for an open debate. After all, isn’t that what politics is supposed to be?!