Delhi Government Clashes: Alleged Assault Sparks Political Firestorm

The heated dispute between Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal intensifies over an alleged assault on AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal. Both the Aam Aadmi Party and BJP trade accusations ahead of polls, shaking the political landscape of Delhi.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 21-05-2024 21:24 IST | Created: 21-05-2024 21:24 IST
Delhi Government Clashes: Alleged Assault Sparks Political Firestorm
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Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena on Tuesday said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's ''deafening silence'' on the alleged assault on AAP Rajya Sabha MP ''speaks volumes of his stance on the safety of women'' and stressed that the CM should have not been ''evasive'' and ''dodgy'' on the issue.

Hitting back, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the L-G's statement proves that ''Maliwal is working at the behest of BJP''.

The Delhi Police on Saturday arrested Kumar, an aide of Kejriwal, after Maliwal accused him of assaulting her on May 13 at the Delhi Chief Minister's official residence.

In a statement, posted by the Raj Niwas on 'X', Saxena said the Delhi Police is investigating the matter and it will be brought to its ''logical conclusion''.

He also termed the alleged ''U-turn'' by the party on the matter ''baffling.'' ''I have been deeply distressed over the unfolding media narrative over the last few days on the issue of alleged assault on Ms Swati Maliwal, MP, Aam Aadmi Party, at the residence of Chief Minister, when she went there to meet him all alone.

''Yesterday, she called me out of sheer anguish, describing at length her traumatic experience, and the subsequent intimidation and shaming that she is being subjected to by her own colleagues. She also expressed concerns over reported tampering of evidence and coercion against her,'' he said.

About Kejriwal, Saxena said, ''I would have expected that at least for the sake of propriety, my CM would have come clean, rather than being evasive and dodgy. His deafening silence speaks volumes of his stance on the safety of women.'' Delhi is the national capital and is home to the entire diplomatic community from around the world and ''such shameful incidents and the insensitive and conspiratorial contemptuous government response on an issue of women safety tarnishes India's image worldwide,'' he said.

''Had such an incident happened in any other chief minister's residence in the country, external forces with vested interests, inimical to India, would have unleashed a scathing global narrative around women's safety in India. The absence of any outrage in this case leaves several questions unanswered,'' the statement from the L-G said.

Saxena said that Maliwal has been ''vociferous'', ''hostile'' and ''blatantly partisan towards me and my office, often criticizing me unjustifiably''.

He said it was ''most disturbing'' that the alleged scene of the crime was the drawing room of the chief minister, even while he was allegedly present in the house, and that it was carried out by his ''closest aide'' on a woman who was alone.

''Her fellow member of Rajya Sabha confirmed her narrative in full media glare and assured that the CM would take firm action against the culprit -- his aide.

''Subsequently, a total U-turn was done in the matter, apparently at the behest of the highest functionary. This too is inexplicable and baffling,'' he said.

On May 14, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that the incident involving Maliwal was ''highly condemnable'' and claimed that Kumar had ''misbehaved'' with her. Days later, Atishi, in a press conference, termed the case a ''BJP conspiracy'' to frame Kejriwal and called Maliwal its ''face.'' Responding to the L-G's statement, the AAP said the BJP is hatching a ''new conspiracy'' every day in the run-up to the polls.

''Sometimes they rake up the excise policy case, sometimes the Swati Maliwal incident and sometimes the allegation of the party receiving foreign funding. The BJP will use new tactics against us till the polls. The BJP is losing the polls badly and they are trying to lift their status using the Maliwal issue,'' the party alleged.

The BJP, fearing defeat in Lok Sabha polls in Delhi and Punjab, is using Swati Maliwal to bolster their campaign, the AAP alleged.

Senior AAP Leader and Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, in a post on 'X', hit out at the Delhi L-G, asking what steps he took when female wrestlers were protesting against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh at the Jantar Mantar.

He said the Delhi Police, which comes under the L-G, filed an FIR in the matter only after the Supreme Court ordered it to do so.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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