New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party candidate Kanchan Jariwala withdrew his nomination from the Surat (East) constituency in poll-bound Gujarat Wednesday, a day after going “incognito”.
His party leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, claimed Jariwala had been “kidnapped by the BJP”.
At a press briefing earlier Wednesday, AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the BJP of abducting their candidate. He claimed that Jariwala was “circled by over 500 policemen and taken to the Returning Officer’s office” in Surat.
In a video shared by news agency ANI, the candidate was seen walking out of the office.
Sisodia referred to the incident as BJP “panicking” about losing the Gujarat polls, which are scheduled to take place on 1 and 5 December.
“The moment he came out of his office after getting his nominations scrutinised, BJP goons took him away,” Sisodia said, adding, “This is dangerous. This is the kidnapping of democracy, not just of a candidate,” asserted Sisodia.
AAP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha called it “the murder of democracy” and accused the BJP of “forcing” Jariwala 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! pic.twitter.com/CY32TrUZx8
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) November 16, 2022
The term “free and fair election” has become a joke, he said, tweeting a video of Jariwala at the RO’S office Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, Kejriwal tweeted that Jariwala and his family have been missing since Tuesday.
“Our candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, the BJP tried to get his nomination rejected. But his nomination was accepted. Later he was being pressured to withdraw his nomination. Has he been kidnapped?” he said.
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?
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 16, 2022
AAP’s entry into the fray in Gujarat is being presented as a massive challenge to the BJP, who have ruled the state for the past 27 years, especially for the Muslim electorate, who have largely stood by the Congress.