Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas says he does not mind being dismissed as a ‘joker’ by the Congress, but wants to take on Rahul Gandhi in an open debate to prove he is serious challenger to the man tipped to be a prime ministerial contender.
“Doesn’t a candidate have the right to challenge Rahul Gandhi to a debate on Amethi, on national policies, on Syria, Pakistan? I invite him to a debate. Let him come to the NDTV studio or a square in Amethi. He can come with his supporters but not get Janardan Dwivedi, Ajay Maken and Co. with him,” Mr Vishwas said on the NDTV’s The Buck Stops Here.
Amethi is the parliamentary constituency of Rahul Gandhi.
“They (Congress) say campaign can a joker run. Is being joker bad? Charlie Chaplin made people laugh…he made such a beautiful film, The Great Dictator. They called me joker, Nali ka Keeda (worm), pest. I am happy at being promoted from pest to joker.”
The 43-year-old, yet to be formally declared the AAP’s candidate against Rahul Gandhi for the national election in three months, tested waters at Amethi on Sunday with a ‘Jan Vishwas rally’ urging people to free themselves of dynastic politics and pick a ‘naukar’ (servant) this time. On the way, he faced some tense moments, greeted by black flags by people he alleged were Congress supporters.
The Hindi professor and parodist popular for his stage shows, has tempted more than one controversy in politics. On Monday, Mallika Sarabhai, a few days old in the AAP, said she had seen him on youtube videos airing views that were anti-minority and distinctly misogynistic.
She also slammed him for appearing to praise Narendra Modi in one of these videos. Speaking to NDTV, Mr Vishwas admitted to having been a fan of the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate “until he learnt about corruption in Mr Modi’s Gujarat.”