A day after AAP leader HS Phoolka claimed that Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor contacted him to seek suggestions on the issue of justice to Sikhs, a messy social media war erupted over the issue.
Phoolka on Monday released on Facebook and Twitter “SMS proof” of the messages he received from the alleged mediator -- one Dr Bipin Jha -- who was trying to fix a meeting between him and Kishor.
Jha reacted on Facebook saying his message had been “misread” by Phoolka.
Kishor reacted through his organisation I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee) on Twitter saying Jha was an AAP supporter and the whole thing was a “fixed match”.
So one who apparently approached & who got approached are both from AAP.Sorry @hsphoolka but ppl are too smart to fall for this Fixed match!— I-PAC (@IndianPAC) May 2, 2016
Phoolka, who also released the ‘proof’ with a press statement issued on Monday evening, said he was contacted by UK-based Jha first through Inderpal Singh Shergill, the AAP worker who had organised Phoolka’s events during his recent visit to the UK on March 13, requesting for a meeting with him and Kishor. Phoolka says he refused to meet Jha or Kishore. Then according to Phoolka, Jha contacted him directly on April 30 over the phone. Phoolka says he rebuked Jha saying he was not interested in meeting Kishor.
Following the conversation over the phone, Phoolka says he received an SMS from Jha that reads: “Sir, it was only a request to meet Prashant Kishor and take your views and help him on Sikh justice issue to incorporate into their manifesto rather than anything else. Not about joining Congress, etc. I think my message was not conveyed in that way. My deep regards to you. Dr Bipin Jha.” Phoolka says it was after this SMS that he decided to give his suggestions on the subject through the media.
Reacting to Phoolka’s ‘expose’, Jha on his Facebook page has written that he was trying to get in touch with Phoolka to talk on the issues facing Sikhs. “The proposal was given at a personal level and the idea was to further discuss these issues with Congress leaders,” he explains. “I contacted Phoolka again after his video came out in which he was very sad. I wanted to tell him that in case he is not able to contribute through the AAP he should meet Prashant Kishor and discuss his issues with him so that he (Kishor) could help him,” he writes.
Uploading a selfie-video of Bipin Jha, Kishor’s company I-PAC tweeted: “Please Google Dr Bipin Jha and Aam Aadmi Party to know the “truth” of HS Phoolka’s claim of being approached by PK (Prashant Kishor). The video uploaded with the tweet shows Jha saying that he is proud to be in AAP’s team. IPAC then followed this with another tweet that said: “So one who apparently approached and who got approached are both from AAP. Sorry HS Phoolka but people are too smart to fall for this fixed match!” Later, uploading Jha’s Facebook reaction, IPAC demanded an unconditional apology from Phoolka for his allegations.
Where is AAP?
Despite the fact that Phoolka is a senior AAP leader and has been putting out these claims for two days now, no leader of the AAP has spoken in support of Phoolka. However, his tweets and Facebook messages have been retweeted by some party workers. When contacted, Phoolka said his party’s support was not needed. “I have been fighting the Congress alone for 32 years. I don’t need anyone’s help to carry the battle forward,” he said.
Who is Bipin Jha?
Bipin Jha is a UK-based medical practitioner. His Facebook page has several pictures of his with a host of political leaders. These include not just AAP but also leaders of the Swaraj party. In a selfie video dated April 23, he says he is not with any political party but is supporting anyone who is doing good work in politics.