• Thursday, December 01, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Ahead of Gujarat polls, AAP accuses Modi’s BJP of kidnapping candidate

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

In an incident showing how things are heating up ahead of the elections in the western Indian state of Gujarat next month, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged on Wednesday (16) that one of its candidates fielded in the two-phase election was kidnapped, dragged to the party office, and forced to withdraw his nomination at gunpoint, before being taken away again.

The AAP, which is led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and eyeing to topple prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in the state, has accused the latter over the incident. The saffron party was yet to respond to the allegation.

In a series of tweets, AAP leaders, including Kejriwal, condemned the incident. They alleged Kanchan Jariwala, who has been fielded from the state’s Surat (East) constituency, was kidnapped by the BJP and was taken to the election office by police officers from where he was whisked away to an “undisclosed location”.

The constituency is currently held by the BJP.

The party also said that the candidate and his family could not be reached and his house was closed.

Manish Sisodia, a senior AAP leader and deputy chief minister of Delhi, said Jariwala was taken to the election office and he was surrounded by 500 policemen.

“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,” Sisodia alleged.

“A candidate was kidnapped. They got him to withdraw his nomination at gunpoint. What can be a bigger emergency for the Election Commission? So we have come to the Election Commission with an appeal for immediate action,” he said in tweets in Hindi.

Raghav Chaddha, another AAP leader, posted a video of what he called Jariwala being “dragged” and forced to take back his nomination.

“Watch how police and BJP goons together – dragged our Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala to the RO office, forcing him to withdraw his nomination The term ‘free and fair election’ has become a joke!” he tweeted.

The AAP claimed that Jariwala and his family had allegedly gone missing on Tuesday (15) after he had gone to get his nomination papers scrutinised.

“The moment he came out of the office after getting his nomination scrutinized, BJP’s goons took him away,” Sisodia said.

“This is dangerous. This is the kidnapping of democracy, not just a candidate,” he alleged.

Kejriwal tweeted, “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?”

Gujarat goes to the polls on December 1 and 5 with the results set to be announced on December 8, along with that in Himachal Pradesh where election was held on Saturday (12).

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