New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party, which has accused Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) East Delhi candidate Gautam Gambhir of distributing copies of a derogatory pamphlet against AAP leaders, said it was contemplating legal action against the cricketer-turned-politician.
Earlier on Thursday, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and AAP's East Delhi candidate Atishi charged Gambhir with distributing the pamphlets which made sordid allegations against AAP leaders. At the press conference in New Delhi, Atishi broke down while reading contents of the pamphlet and stated that the pamphlets were distributed in several colonies of East Delhi, including Krishna Nagar.
Sisodia said, “The derogatory pamphlets were distributed by Gambhir in several colonies of East Delhi, also as inserts in some newspapers. It was not expected from a sportsperson like him. When Gambhir used to play cricket, we cheered for him.” He went on to say that the language in the pamphlet was “so abusive and low” that anybody who read it would feel ashamed. Earlier, AAP had raised questions over Gambhir’s candidature, claiming he had voter ID cards from two constituencies in Delhi.
Expressing his views on the AAP press conference, Gambhir told ANI: “I will definitely file a defamation case against them (AAP leaders). You can’t tarnish someone’s image just like that, if you don’t have the proof. I have never given a negative statement against anyone so far in my election campaigning.”
Reacting to these allegations earlier on his Twitter account, Gambhir said:
I abhor your act of outraging a woman’s modesty @ArvindKejriwal and that too your own colleague. And all this for winning elections? U r filth Mr CM and someone needs ur very own झाड़ू to clean ur dirty mind.
— Chowkidar Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) May 9, 2019
He also challenged AAP leaders in another tweet to prove the allegations:
My Challenge no.2 @ArvindKejriwal @AtishiAAP I declare that if its proven that I did it, I will withdraw my candidature right now. If not, will u quit politics? — Chowkidar Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) May 9, 2019
Delhi chief minister and AAP president Arvind Kejriwal, too, responded to the campaign squabble on Twitter, and said: “Never imagined Gautam Gambhir to stoop so low. How can women expect safety if people with such mentality are voted in? Atishi, stay strong. I can imagine how difficult it must be for you. It is precisely this kind of forces we have to fight against.”
Explaining the chronology of events, AAP joint-secretary Akshay Marathe said, “First, one of our volunteers on Tuesday received this derogatory pamphlet. Then, on Wednesday, Vishwas Nagar RWA (resident welfare association) president received the same pamphlet. Then we held the press conference today (Thursday)." He added that the party was contemplating legal action against Gambhir.
Alka Lamba, the AAP MLA from Chandni Chowk, was of the view that Gambhir couldn’t stoop to such level, but the party he has joined could. “The standard of politics has gone down. I don't think Gambhir can strategise this type of character assassination, as he is new to politics. However, someone from BJP could have done it, as earlier, I have also faced these type of issues planted by BJP. BJP takes such steps just a few days before the elections,” she said. “Also, Gambhir should come forward to condemn the whole incident, and if AAP is planning any legal action, then Gambhir should help them."
Reacting to the incident, Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal tweeted that she was issuing notice to the police to register FIR and arrest culprits.
Deeply disturbed by sickening pamphlet circulated against @AtishiAAP by opposition. Disgusting & pathetic.
Issuing Notice to Police 2 register FIR & arrest culprits.
How will women participate in politics if treated this way? Why no action taken against such dirty tricks? https://t.co/i7SBhXuRqs
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) May 9, 2019
Meanwhile, BJP leaders backed Gambhir while lashing out at the AAP.
Nvon Kumar, the party's media in-charge of East Delhi, denied that the BJP had anything to do with the pamphlets. "AAP can do anything, like getting their leaders slapped and distribute scandalous pamphlets to be in the race for Lok Sabha elections," he claimed.
BJP Delhi spokesperson Harish Khurana said that the allegations made by the AAP candidate are baseless and there may be a possibility that they themselves had floated this to get traction. All seven Lok Sabha seats from Delhi are scheduled to go to polls on 12 May.
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Updated Date: May 10, 2019 09:30:41 IST