Modi's picture was taken off hours later, after a torrent of ridicule on social media, but the fiasco bared the AAP's tactic of shying away from attacking the "strong" Prime Minister over fears it could harm the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in the Delhi elections.
"Delhi speaks: Modi for PM, Arvind for CM", went the slogan on the banner on the AAP site with the picture of Kejriwal slightly bigger than Modi's. The aim was to gauge the response to the party's theme that Delhi's voters had voted Modi as they wanted a strong Prime Minister and they would back Kejriwal now as they want a strong chief minister.
"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. They want Arvind Kejriwal again," said an introduction to the slogan.
No way - the responses suggested. "Height of shamelessness. After all the anti-Modi rhetoric, AAP using Modi pix on their website," tweeted Kiran Kumar S. Another tweet, by Chiraj Patel, said: "He (Kejriwal) couldn't have proved more how extremely foolish a person can be. AAP is making Modi the face of their campaign."
The tirade sent AAP leaders into a huddle, with some calling it a "misadventure" by an "overenthusiastic" young volunteer in the social media cell of the party. "It was unauthorised campaign material. Action will be taken against those responsible for putting up the banner," AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.
Despite the rush to disown, AAP insiders acknowledged the tactic of not attacking Modi, who will be the BJP's face in the polls. "Instead, we will focus on the failure of the BJP in power in the Delhi Municipal Corporation and list the 49-day AAP government's achievements," said another AAP leader.
The AAP has been playing down the Modi factor in the battle, arguing the Prime Minister will not after all be the chief minister.
After quitting as chief minister in February, Kejriwal contested and lost against Modi from Varanasi in the Lok Sabha polls. He later admitted quitting was a mistake.