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AAP replaces candidate with a ‘criminal’ record

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 13, 2013
First Published: 22:48 IST(13/10/2013) | Last Updated: 00:50 IST(15/10/2013)
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to replace its candidate from the Shahdara constituency. A statement released by AAP on Sunday said the party had recently discovered that the candidate had FIRs registered against him as well as pending criminal cases.

Surendra Sharma, who is also an advocate, has now been replaced by Balbeer Singh, an RTI activist, by the party's political affairs committee.

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A statement from the Arvind Kejriwal-led party on Sunday said, "This action is in line with AAP's commitment to ensure that no person with doubtful credentials represents the party in the upcoming elections."

The party claimed that in his application, Sharma had failed to mention that there were criminal cases and FIRs pending against him. He is also embroiled in a number of property disputes, the statement read.

"It also came to the party's notice that the elections to the Shahdara Bar Association were cancelled due to allegations of use of unfair means and violence during the election under his chairmanship," said the party in its statement.

"Even if on the last day of the nomination we receive any credible information against any of our candidate with regard to his criminal record, we will cancel his candidature and keep the seat vacant," the party reiterated.

HT could not reach Sharma for his comments on the matter.

But the party's diktat on criminal records, it seems, does not extend to Uttam Nagar. As reported by HT earlier, several party volunteers of the area have been protesting against the candidature of Desh Raj Raghav.

"We had personally met Arvindji (Kejriwal) and submitted our demand on October 8. He said he was personally looking into the issue. But we have not yet heard from either him or any other leader," said Deepak Kumar Chaudhary, one of the protesters.

The volunteers claimed that they had opted for 'none of the above' option when asked to chose a party candidate for the constituency. And yet, the party had come up with Raghav's name despite there being no clear-cut consensus.

Manish Sisodia, AAP spokesperson, said they (Uttam Nagar protesters) have not been able to produce any authentic documents against Raghav, (so) there was no need of replacing (the candidate).

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