AAP’s Surat candidate backs out amid ‘abduction’ furore; No role, says BJP
The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) candidate for Gujarat’s Surat (East) constituency withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday amid allegations by the party that the leader was abducted by political rivals, a charge rejected by the leader later in the day
The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) candidate for Gujarat’s Surat (East) constituency withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday amid allegations by the party that the leader was abducted by political rivals, a charge rejected by the leader later in the day.
AAP’S Gujarat chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) abducted Kanchan Jariwala on the night of November 14 and that the leader was missing along with his family members. But Jariwala rubbished the allegations and said he withdrew of his own accord.
“After I filed the nomination, people from my constituency were unhappy saying that I am contesting on a ticket given by the anti-national party. I was not kidnapped, but went to my relatives place with my family. Even the booth workers were asking for huge amount of money for the election management. I was in mental stress and so decided to quit,” Jariwala said.
The BJP said it had nothing to do with the episode.
The AAP also approached the Election Commission with a four-member team led by Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and demanded that the poll for the seat be countermanded.
An EC official said that the complaint was forwarded to the chief electoral officer of Gujarat for further inquiry.
“Let them first file a complaint if their candidate or their family members are missing. The investigating authority will find out the truth,” said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
The withdrawal means that the AAP will not be contesting the Surat (East) seat as the last date for filing nominations was November 14. The constituency goes to the polls, along with 88 other others, in the first phase of the Gujarat assembly elections on December 1. The second phase comprising 93 seats will be held on December 5 and the results will be announced on December 8.
The AAP is looking to make inroads into the state in its maiden electoral outing in the western state, considered a BJP stronghold. The BJP is hoping for its seventh straight assembly election victory and the Congress is hoping to repeat its election performance in 2017, when it gave the BJP a run for its money.
Surat (East) was considered an important seat for the AAP because the party did well in the municipal elections last year.
Jariwala filed his nomination on November 14.
The drama began when Gadhvi alleged that Jariwala had gone missing with his family members for the last couple of days. “The BJP is so scared of AAP that it has come on hooliganism. BJP was targeting our Kanchan Jariwala for a few days and today he is missing. It is believed that BJP’s goons have taken them away. His family is also missing” he tweeted. His tweet was re-tweeted by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
But Jariwala denied this later in the day and showed up along with his supporters.
The BJP blamed the AAP.
Niranjan Zanzmera, BJP’s Surat unit president said, “It is their (AAP) problem and the BJP has nothing to do with the entire episode. We are nowhere involved in pressurising Kanchan Jariwala. AAP is trying to malign the image of BJP and it was their pre-planned strategy”
Aslam Cyclewala, the Congress candidate, said Jariwala posed a serious threat to the winning prospects of sitting MLA Arvind Rana. “The BJP was chasing Jariwala and finally they were successful in getting him to withdraw his nomination,” he said.
Rana rejected the charges. “It is an independent decision of the AAP candidate to withdraw his candidacy, BJP has no role to play. We are pretty sure to once again win the Surat (East) seat with a huge margin.”
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