The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday apologised to voters and dropped Pritpal Singh Saluja, its candidate from the Rajouri Garden constituency, after discovering a criminal case against him.
“He did not tell us about an FIR and criminal case against him in Lucknow, so we have decided to withdraw our support. We’re saying sorry to the voters of the constituency,” AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said at a press conference.
Since the last date (November 20) for the withdrawal of candidature is over, Saluja can’t be dropped officially. “He is not a party candidate anymore and we are leaving the seat vacant,” Yadav said. He added: “This is for the first time in the elections that a party has withdrawn its candidate on the ground of a criminal case against him.”
The party said it was brought to its notice that an FIR was registered against Saluja and three of his family members in October 2012 in Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh police had filed a charge sheet for dowry harassment against him and some family members in August.
“A notice was issued by the trial court to him on November 11, which does not appear to have reached him before November 14, the day he filed his nomination as the party’s official candidate,” Yadav said, adding his declaration in the nomination form that no criminal case was pending against him, may be technically correct.