Gujarat Elections 2022: Amid high drama, Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) candidate Kanchan Jariwala on Wednesday withdrew his nomination from the Surat East assembly seat. He had allegedly gone missing since last evening and surfaced today with security personnel accompanying him to the office of Returning Officer where he withdrew his nomination.
The AAP, which is trying to expand its footprint in the western state, claimed that Jariwala was kidnapped by the BJP. The ruling party, however, rejected the claim saying it has to "take care of its own house".
Earlier today, Delhi Chief Minister in a tweet 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?"
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia claimed that the BJP was losing badly in the assembly election and so was fuming and fretting. In a tweet in Hindi, Sisodia said: "In Gujarat, BJP got AAP candidate Kanchan Jariwala kidnapped from Surat East by using goons and then forced him to withdraw his nomination by using police. In such a situation, what is the point of the election then?"
AAP MP and Gujarat co-in-charge Raghav Chaddha shared a video saying: "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!"
Who is Kanchan Jariwala?
Kanchan Jariwala was AAP's candidate from Surat East, which is currently with the BJP. In 2017, BJP's Arvind Shantilal Rana won this seat by securing 53.65 per cent votes. This time, the BJP has fielded Arvind Rana while the Congress has given a ticket to Aslam Cyclewala.
What Jariwala said about kidnapping?
Jariwala rejected the kidnapping claims and said that he withdrew his nomination because AAP workers in Surat East had started resigning. He also claimed that his party workers had started demanding money. "I'm not capable enough to spend Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore. Their demand was so much that I couldn't fulfill it," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Jariwala said that there was a lot of pressure from the party (AAP). "People were harassing me by calling again and again. I went away with my son's friends, there was no one from BJP. What I have to do now, I will tell you after 5-7 days," he said.
The AAP is confident of doing better this time as the party had won 27 of 120 seats with over 28 per cent votes in its first attempt in the Surat Municipal Elections held in February 2021. This was the AAP's best performance in the state civic body which boosted the morale of the party leaders in the state and Delhi.
The AAP's gain was, however, at the expense of Congress, which was wiped out in the election.
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