Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today alleged that one of its candidates in Gujarat had been “kidnapped” and forced to withdraw his nomination for next month’s election.
AAP first claimed, in a blizzard of tweets, that Kanchan Jariwala, the party’s candidate from Surat (East), had been missing since yesterday. “BJP has kidnapped AAP candidate Kanchan Jariwala,” Manish Sisodia said.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Sisodia said Mr Jariwala had been found and had been brought to the Gujarat election returning office, surrounded by 500 policemen.
– ANI (@ANI) November 16, 2022
“There is pressure on him to withdraw his nomination. He has been forced to sit in the poll office and is being pressured by policemen. I want to tell the Election commission that this is an open threat to democracy,” Mr Sisodia added.
Mr Sisodia said the BJP was “panicking” about losing the Gujarat election and had therefore resorted to kidnapping an AAP candidate.
According to him, Kanchan Jariwala and his family had gone missing yesterday, when he went to get his nomination papers scrutinized. “The moment he came out of the office after getting his nomination scrutinized, BJP’s goons took him aways,” said the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, who is AAP’s number two leader.
“This is dangerous. This is the kidnapping of democracy, not just a candidate,” he alleged.
Several AAP leaders have tweeted the allegations.
“Our candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, BJP tried to get his nomination rejected. But his nomination was accepted. Later, he was being pressurised to withdraw his nomination. Has he been kidnapped?” tweeted Arvind Kejriwal.
Our candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, BJP tried to get his nomination rejected. But his nomination was accepted. Later, he was being pressurised to withdraw his nomination.
Has he been kidnapped?
– Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 16, 2022
AAP’s Raghav Chadha called it “murder of democracy”.
Murder of democracy!
Our candidate Kanchan Jariwala from Surat East seat has been kidnapped by BJP.
First BJP unsuccessfully tried to get his nomination papers rejected, then coerced him to withdraw his candidature and now kidnapped him. He is missing since last afternoon. pic.twitter.com/SWpOEjSG59
– Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) November 16, 2022
The BJP has not responded to AAP’s allegations.
The ruling party, in power in Gujarat for 27 years, faces an aggressive challenge this time from AAP, which has turned the traditional BJP versus Congress rivalry in the state into a triangular contest.
Gujarat votes on December 1 and 5 for a new government. The results will be declared on December 8.
The kidnapping claim overlapped with the BJP’s charge that an AAP MLA is involved in bribes taken in exchange for a nomination to contest the Delhi civic polls.
Three men, including a relative and a personal assistant of AAP MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, were arrested yesterday for allegedly taking lakhs from a party worker who wanted to be a candidate. Another AAP MLA, Rajesh Gupta, has also been named, and the cops claim to have audio and video proof.
The BJP said the case has “exposed the AAP’s true face yet again”.
MLA Tripathi’s relative Om Singh, PA Shiv Shankar Pandey, and an associate, Prince Raghuvanshi were arrested when they landed in the AAP worker’s home to return Rs 33 lakh of the money they’d taken, as the ticket promise wasn’t kept, the police said.
Mr Sisodia said about the bribe-for-ticket charge, “The BJP, too, knows the AAP is winning the MCD elections. So, it’s obvious that the demand for AAP tickets was also high. Some people may have misused that.”