In what could be considered a major political faux pa, the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday put a banner on its website with an unambiguous message: 'Delhi Speaks: Modi for PM, Arvind for CM'.
The party later removed the image from the homepage of its website, but hundreds of messages on Twitter and Facebook ridiculing the party for its clear endorsement of India's Prime Minister showed that the damage was done.
"AAP shamelessly using Namo's picture on its website as a crutch to sell itself. Sad really," said a tweet. "Aaj 'Hail Modi' & before Gen Elections it was 'Jail Modi'", said another.
"I'm willing to bet almost anything that #AAP will claim its website was hacked," a third tweet said. There was no reaction from the party on Twitter, where chief Arvind Kejriwal is pretty active.
The AAP even had a statement on the site, which was also removed along with the image. The statement said, "The voters in Delhi have decided. They want a strong Prime Minister which is why they elected Narendra Modi. They now want a strong Chief Minister so that issues like corruption, inflation, better schools, transport and hospitals could be resolved. They want Arvind Kejriwal again."
Even a video showing Kejriwal taking oath as Delhi's chief minister in December last year was removed by the party from its website.
In his recent interviews, Kejriwal has tried to make the forthcoming Delhi elections a direct contest with BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi, hoping to tower over a relatively lesser-known leader. But like every election since its spectacular victory in May, the BJP continues to make every election a reflection of Modi's popularity.
The image on the website can, therefore, be understood in the context of AAP's unsuccessful - and embarrassing - effort to distance Modi from the Delhi polls, expected in February next year.