“This is the kidnapping of democracy, not just a candidate,” Manish Sisodia alleged.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged today that one of its candidates in Gujarat was “kidnapped”, dragged to an election office and forced at gunpoint to withdraw his nomination for next month’s election before being taken away again. The party has blamed the ruling BJP, which has not responded to the allegation yet.
AAP leaders claimed, in a blizzard of tweets, that the party’s Surat (East) candidate Kanchan Jariwala was “kidnapped” by the BJP, brought to the election office by policemen and whisked away to an “undisclosed location”.
The candidate and his family could not be reached and his house is locked, AAP alleged.
Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said Mr Jariwala had been brought to the Gujarat election returning office 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,” Mr Sisodia alleged.
Flagging his allegations to the Election Commission, he tweeted: “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.”
Another AAP leader, Raghav Chaddha, posted a dramatic video of what he called Mr Jariwala being “dragged” and forced to withdraw 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.
Mr Sisodia said the BJP was “panicking” as it was about to lose Gujarat and had therefore resorted to kidnapping an AAP candidate.
Kanchan Jariwala and his family had allegedly gone missing yesterday when he went to get his nomination papers scrutinised, AAP claimed. “The moment he came out of the office after getting his nomination scrutinized, BJP’s goons took him away,” said Mr Sisodia, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP’s number two leader.
“This is dangerous. This is the kidnapping of democracy, not just a candidate,” he alleged.
Several AAP leaders tweeted the allegations.
“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?” tweeted Arvind Kejriwal.
The BJP, in power in Gujarat for 27 years, faces an aggressive challenge this time from AAP, which has turned the traditional BJP versus Congress rivalry in the state into a triangular contest.
Gujarat votes on December 1 and 5 for a new government. The results will be declared on December 8.
The kidnapping claim overlapped with the BJP’s charge that an AAP MLA is linked to bribes taken in exchange for a party nomination to contest the Delhi civic polls.
Three men, including a relative and a personal assistant of AAP MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, were arrested yesterday for allegedly taking lakhs from a party worker who wanted to be a candidate. Another AAP MLA, Rajesh Gupta, has also been named, and the Delhi Police claim to have audio and video proof.
The BJP said the case has “exposed the AAP’s true face yet again”.