AAP East Delhi candidate Atishi on Thursday broke down at a press conference where she and her party accused her BJP rival Gautam Gambhir of circulating derogatory pamphlets about her. The former cricketer denied the charge.

“I feel very sad as I speak to the media. I feel sad that politics has stooped so low in the country,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson said.

“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, referring to pamphlets circulated with newspapers across the constituency.

“I am not in politics for money or fame,” said Atishi, who has played a key role in reshaping the school education system in the capital.

Atishi became emotional and broke down.

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

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was present at the presser, added: “Gambhir circulated derogatory pamphlets about Atishi. The language in this pamphlet is so abusive that anybody who reads it will feel ashamed.”

He said when Gambhir played cricket for India, the nation clapped for him. “But we never in our worst dream thought that this man would stoop this low to win an election.”

Gambhir denied the charge, saying he will withdraw his nomination if Atishi’s accusations were proven true.

In a series of tweets, he said: “My Challenge number 2 (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal and Atishi. I declare that if it’s proven that I did it, I will withdraw my candidature right now. If not, will you quit politics?”

Sisodia said: “The people will give an answer to this on May 12 (polling day).”

Kejriwal tweeted: “How can women expect safety if people with 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.”

Gambhir, 37, is contesting in East Delhi against AAP’s Atishi, also 37, who holds a Masters in Science from Oxford University. The Congress candidate is Arvinder Singh Lovely.

Atishi, who joined AAP when it was founded in 2012, is a member of its Political Affairs Committee and National Executive.