The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday defended Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to not meet Arvind Kejriwal, dubbing the Aam Aadmi Party leader as a “maverick.”

Questioning his politics and the AAP’s strategy, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said in a statement: “ ... Do you answer questions which a maverick puts to you? Do you meet him when he tries to gate crash into your house? Do you allow him to occupy the centre stage by engaging him or do you ignore him and continue with your conventional style of setting the agenda?”

Defending Mr. Modi’s stance, he said it was safer to keep distance from such a person. “ ... Silence can be the best response to a maverick. Silence is dignified. It saves you the embarrassment of engaging with a maverick on his bizarre agenda. Narendra Modi therefore was well advised to deny an audience to Arvind Kejriwal.”

Taking potshots at the AAP’s style of functioning and campaign strategy, the BJP leader said that unlike a lot of others who join politics to contribute constructively, India has its own share of mavericks. “Many of the free thinkers join parties temporarily and then find themselves a misfit. Some have even formed political parties. Their style is unconventional. They make arguments in an idiom intended to derive maximum publicity. A maverick has a habit of making allegations without substance. Conventional politicians are reluctant to join issue with them because a maverick is capable of hitting below the belt. He is a wild card,” he said.

Commenting on people joining the AAP, he said switching parties or defection during election time was called re-polarisation of political forces.

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