Calling his campaigns "malicious" and accusing him of "using abusive language", the political secretary of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit has come down heavily on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal.
A file photo of activist-politician Arvind Kejriwal
In an open letter to Kejriwal on Thursday, Pawan Khera said the AAP leader should refrain from "cheap gimmicks" and stop the "uncivilised campaign" against the Congress leader through auto-rickshaws.
He also lambasted Kejriwal for being "insensitive" to a woman chief minister. The letter states: "In the past, too, you have used language unbecoming of an educated man against your political rivals… While you are free to take a political stand against individuals and policies, kindly refrain from such personal attacks which reduce politics to a cheap gimmick".
On Wednesday, after a petition by auto-rickshaws supporting AAP, the Delhi High Court had suspended the Delhi government's order to prohibit auto-rickshaw drivers from displaying advertisements and posters on their vehicles.
The letter further states: "We have been fighting to ensure respect for women in society but if a political party - which you claim you are - stoops so low as to show disrespect to a lady leader, what can be expected of its conduct towards women in society at large?"(sic.)
Khera said Dikshit has never responded to the "abusive campaign nor has herself indulged in any such malicious campaign".
The letter also requests AAP to "ensure immediate removal of these posters to help maintain a clean political culture".
Kejrwal confirmed receiving the letter.
"If Sheila ji wants to raise certain issues, she should write directly to me and not through her political secretary. In the past, too, when she wanted to file a defamation case against me, it was done through someone else. A leader leads from the front and should not hide behind political advisors or secretaries," Kejriwal told Hindustan Times.
"I've never said anything indecent to the chief minister and even our campaign has criticised her policies and misrule. There has been no personal attack," he added.
The AAP leader said he will write a "direct" letter to the chief minister in the next three days, responding to all the queries that the open letter has raised.
"This is the first time that the Congress has found an honest opponent as the BJP is not an opponent at all. There has always been match-fixing between BJP and Congress. But now when they see AAP raising all the valid issues, it is pinching them,' he added.