New Delhi: Ahead of polling in Delhi on May 12, a war of word has begun between AAP candidate from East Delhi Atishi and her BJP rival Gautam Gambhir. Atishi broke down during a press conference on Thursday and alleged that cricketer-turned-politician Gambhir had circulated a derogatory pamphlet. Gambhir, however, refuted the allegation and challenged the AAP that if it could prove its accusation, he would opt out of the elections.

Atishi asked, “If Gambhir can stoop so low to defeat a strong woman like me, how can he ensure security for women as an MP?”

She broke down while reading the content of the pamphlet, titled ‘Atishi Marlena – Know Your Candidate’. The AAP alleged that the pamphlet was distributed with newspapers in the constituency by the BJP.

“I feel very sad as I speak to the media. I feel sad that politics has stooped so low in the country,” said Atishi.

“When Gambhir joined politics, I told him that good people are important for politics. But he and his party have shown how low they can go,” she said while holding a pamphlet purportedly circulated with newspapers in the East Delhi constituency.

Coming out in support of Atishi, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Never imagined Gautam Gambhir to stoop so low. How can women expect safety if people wid such mentality are voted in? Atishi, stay strong. I can imagine how difficult it must be for u. It is precisely this kind of forces we have to fight against. (sic)”

Hitting back at the AAP, Gambhir, in a series of tweets, said Kejriwal is a “filth” who is “outraging the modesty of a woman” to win elections.

In a series of tweets, Gambhir said, “I abhor your (Arvind Kejriwal’s) act of outraging a woman’s modesty and that too your own colleague. And all this for winning elections?”



“I declare that if it's proven that I did it (distributed derogatory pamphlets), I will withdraw my candidature right now. If not, will you quit politics?” Gambhir asked, adding that he feels ashamed to have a chief minister like Kejriwal.

Gambhir had joined the BJP last month and is making a political debut in these elections. Apart from the AAP’s Atishi, he faces Arvinder Singh Lovely of the Congress. The AAP had earlier raised objections to Gambhir’s candidature and complained to the Election Commission that he had voter cards from two Assembly constituencies. The complaint was rejected.

The big question that the pamphlet war raises: who has printed and circulated it? The AAP claims that the BJP is behind the campaign, while the saffron party has questioned the authenticity of the pamphlet and the intent behind presenting the anonymous pamphlet in the press conference.

The pamphlet shown by the AAP in the press conference does not carry any party symbol or signatures to establish if it was printed and circulated by any specific party. The language used in the pamphlet is extremely vulgar. In it, Atishi is called a ‘prostitute’. It also makes a derogatory remark on Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Kejriwal. An official complaint is yet to be made in the matter.