The Surat East Assembly seat candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party in Gujarat withdrew his nomination on Wednesday, with the AAP claiming he was kidnapped on behalf of the BJP and pressured to do so, a charge filed by the ruling party was denied.
Speaking at a press conference in Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said their Surat seat candidate Kanchan Jariwala along with his relatives had been missing since Tuesday.
“In this election, the BJP is losing miserably in Gujarat and has become so upset that it has stooped to the level of kidnapping our candidate from Surat East,” Sisodia claimed.
“Fearing defeat, the BJP guys kidnapped the AAP candidate from Surat, Kanchan Jariwala,” he continued.
The BJP has removed its incumbent MLA Arvind Rana from the seat.
Elections for the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two stages on December 1 and 5, with vote counting to begin on December 8.
State AAP president Gopal Italia claimed that their Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala appeared before the returning officer’s office on Wednesday under heavy police protection and surrounded by “BJP goons” to withdraw his candidacy under pressure from the ruling party.
When media people questioned Jariwala, he was hurriedly taken away by those around him.
Italia claimed that Jariwala was missing and taken to an undisclosed location by the BJP goons who pressured him to stay out of the election.
Sisodia said, “This is not just kidnapping our candidate, but kidnapping democracy. This is a very dangerous situation in Gujarat.” He appealed to the Election Commission to take note of it.
Niranjan Zanzmera, president of the BJP city of Surat, refuted the allegations, saying that the AAP should “take care of its own house” instead. Italia said the AAP will seek the advice of its legal team for further action in this matter.
“The BJP first wanted to have Jariwala’s nomination declared void on the last date of the trial on Tuesday. When his nomination was accepted, the BJP guys took him to a secret location… We couldn’t find him anywhere until Wednesday morning. His relatives told us that he was under enormous pressure to stay out of the elections,” Italia claimed while speaking to reporters in Surat.
Italia went on to say that the way Jariwala appeared to withdraw his appointment suggested he was under “huge pressure”. Italy asked.
AAP’s Gujarat co-incharge Raghav Chadha alleged that the “BJP goons” kidnapped Jariwala on Tuesday to pressure him to withdraw his candidacy.
“The BJP is so scared in Gujarat that it has started kidnapping the AAP candidates,” the Rajya Sabha member claimed.
“The BJP goons themselves went to the returning officer’s office along with Jariwala and put pressure on him to have his nomination voided. Pressure was also put on his petitioners to have his nomination voided,” he claimed.
Chadha said the party has informed the Chief Electoral Officer about this and a written complaint will be filed. Local police and administration have also been notified, he said.
Surat Police Commissioner Ajay Tomar told PTI he has noticed the issue.
“I found out and we are trying to find out. I’ve put my teams to work and we’ll find out. We have not yet received a formal complaint, but since I am aware of this, I am working on it,” the police official said.
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