Gujarat polls: AAP’s Surat Candidate Withdraws; Cong Says AAP BJP’s B-team

| Updated: November 16, 2022 3:11 pm

The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) candidate from Surat (East) withdrew his nomination for the Gujarat Assembly election amid kidnapping allegations by AAP leaders. The AAP made a sensational allegation that Kanchan Jariwala was pressurised to withdraw his nomination from the Gujarat Assembly elections. The AAP allegation came hours after the party alleged that Jariwala was “kidnapped by the BJP” as he and his family have been missing since Tuesday.

Tweeting a video showing Jariwala surrounded by the police and unidentified persons, AAP leader Raghav Chadha alleged, “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!”

Soon, AAP founder and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “He is being forced by the police and goondas to withdraw his nomination. India has not seen such goondaism. What is the meaning of elections? It’s the end of democracy.”

In his previous tweet, Kejriwal said that Jariwala and his family had gone missing and asked if he has been kidnapped. “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?” Kejriwal tweeted.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that the BJP had “kidnapped” Jariwala fearing a loss in Surat (East). “Kanchan Jariwala is missing since yesterday. His phone is switched off. His family is missing. He was last seen at the RO office yesterday, where he had gone to get his nomination scrutinised. The BJP’s goondas tried to get his nomination withdrawn. However, Jariwala refused and when he left the RO office, the BJP goondas kidnapped him,” Sisodia said in a press conference.

“This is a danger to democracy. This raises questions on the Election Commission (EC),” Sisodia added.

Chadha in a previous tweet called Jariwala’s “kidnapping” a murder of democracy. “Murder of democracy! Our candidate Kanchan Jariwala from Surat East seat has been kidnapped by BJP. First BJP unsuccessfully tried to get his nomination papers rejected, then coerced him to withdraw his candidature and now kidnapped him. He is missing since last afternoon,” said Chadha.

The AAP announced Jariwala’s candidature along with nine others on November 3. Jariwala is up against the BJP’s Arvind Rana, the incumbent MLA in Surat (East).

Responding to the allegations, a BJP official said that AAP was “desperately trying to capture limelight” by making such baseless allegations. “Let them first file a complaint if their candidate or their family members are missing. The investigating authority will find out the truth. That the AAP can stoop to such low levels without any proof shows their desperation to remain relevant in this election.”

AAP BJP’s B-team: Cong

The Congress has slammed the ‘drama’ in Surat, saying the AAP and the BJP were “fooling people”. Former Gujarat Congress chief Bharat Solanki said Jariwala’s withdrawal will benefit the BJP. “The BJP and the AAP are misleading the people of Gujarat for their personal interest. They are one team and their real face will come to the fore just before the elections. The AAP has fielded such candidates that will benefit the BJP. The people of Gujarat are watching and you’ll also soon see that AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi is also working for the BJP,” Solanki said.

The Congress has fielded Aslam Cyclewala from Surat East. BN Sandeep, the Gujarat Congress in-charge of South Gujarat and the AICC Secretary, told Vibes of India, “We have been saying from day one that the AAP is contesting elections in Gujarat to benefit the BJP. Now it has become clear. Nomination of Jariwala was withdrawn in the presence of the BJP leaders.”

Indranil Rajguru, who left the AAP and returned to the Congress, has also alleged that the list of AAP candidates “comes from the BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar”.

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