Gujarat polls: AAP candidate withdraws nomination; party accuses BJP of abducting, pressuring him, he says he acted on his conscience
The Aam Aadmi Party's Surat East Assembly seat candidate in Gujarat withdrew his nomination on Wednesday, with the AAP alleging that he was kidnapped and pressured to do so at the behest of the BJP, a charge denied by the ruling party.
The AAP candidate, Kanchan Jariwala, cleared the air by issuing a video statement in which he purportedly said he withdrew his nomination without any pressure and by listening to his conscience after the people of his constituency labelled him ''anti-national'' and ''anti-Gujarat'' for contesting the election from the AAP and threatened not to support him.
The AAP wrote to the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P Bharathi on the issue and requested her to inquire into the entire incident and take appropriate action.
Amid the development, Congress candidate from the seat, Aslam Cyclewala, wrote an open letter seeking the support of the AAP and end such ''anti-social pollution''. Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said their Surat seat candidate Jariwala, along with his family, had been missing since Tuesday. ''In this election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is miserably losing in Gujarat and has become so rattled that it has stooped to the level of kidnapping our candidate,'' Sisodia alleged.
''Fearing defeat, the BJP goons kidnapped the AAP candidate from Surat, Kanchan Jariwala,'' he alleged.
State AAP president Gopal Italia claimed their Surat East candidate appeared before the office of the Returning Officer on Wednesday under heavy police protection and surrounded by ''BJP goons'' to withdraw his candidature under the pressure of the ruling party.
Italia alleged that Jariwala had gone missing and was allegedly taken to an undisclosed location by the BJP goons, who put pressure on him to stay away from the election.
However, Surat city BJP president Niranjan Zanzmera refuted the allegations and said the AAP should instead ''take care of its own house.'' In the purported video message, Jariwala said, ''During campaigning, people repeatedly told me that I was anti-national and anti-Gujarat and they will not support me for the party from which I have filed my candidature. Getting such negative feedback from the public, my conscience cried.'' ''I listened to my conscience and made up my mind not to contest the election from such an anti-national and anti-Gujarat party and withdrew my nomination without any pressure,'' he said.
In the letter to the Gujarat CEO, AAP leader and Rajya Sabha members Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha accused the BJP of trying to get his nomination rejected initially, which did not work as the returning officer accepted the nomination. ''It is not only a misuse of the police machinery but against the essence of free and fair elections,'' the letter said. ''BJP did not stop there and threatened him and his family for life,'' stated the letter.''This is a horrific story and a blot on the election system that threatens to tear apart the democratic fabric of the country,'' the AAP said, requesting the CEO to take notice of the ''grave situation'' and direct an inquiry into the entire incident and take appropriate and strict action as per law.
''As the withdrawal process of the nomination paper of this candidate is under threat, coercion and pressure, therefore withdrawal or any such attempt may be acted upon immediately,'' it said.
Congress candidate Cyclewala sought the support of the AAP from the seat to defeat the BJP. ''On the direct orders of state BJP president CR Paatil, the nomination of your candidate for Surat East Assembly seat has been withdrawn by intimidation, money power and deceit,'' he alleged in a post on his Facebook page.
''In a democracy, if you really want to end such anti-social corruption, then you should openly support me on the 159-Surat East assembly seat,'' he said in his note addressed to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and the party's state leadership.
The BJP has fielded its sitting MLA Arvind Rana from the seat. Elections for the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 8.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)