The Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Gujarat’s Surat (East) constituency Kanchan Jariwala said on Wednesday that he withdrew his nomination for Assembly polls due to increased pressure from the party, reported ANI.
Jariwala’s statement came hours after AAP leader had alleged that he had been abducted by the Bharatiya Janata Party as it feared losing the Surat (East) seat.
However, Jariwala said that he withdrew his nomination after AAP workers in the constituency started resigning and sought money from him, reported ANI. “I’m not capable enough to spend Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore,” Jariwala told the news agency. “Their demand was so much that I couldn’t fulfil it.”
Jariwala said that he went away with his son’s friends on Wednesday morning as he withdrew his candidature and no one from the BJP was present.
While addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had claimed that Jariwala and his family were missing since Tuesday.
“He was last seen at the Election Commission’s office where he had gone to get his nomination papers scrutinised... BJP’s goons pressurised [the poll panel officials] to cancel Jariwala’s nominations,” Sisodia had claimed. “What can be a bigger emergency for the Election Commission? So we have come to the Election Commission with an appeal for immediate action.”
After Jariwala withdrew his nomination, Sisodia alleged in a tweet that Jariwala was made to withdraw his nomination at gunpoint.
Other Aam Aadmi Party leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, also levelled the same allegations. Party MP Raghav Chadha described the alleged incident as “murder of democracy”.
Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 1 and December 5. The votes will be counted on December 8 along with the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
The BJP is seeking a seventh straight term, while the Aam Aadmi Party is looking to replace the Congress as the main challenger to the saffron party in the state.
Both the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party have announced candidates for 178 out of 182 seats. The BJP has said that incumbent Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will remain in the post if it wins the election, while the Aam Aadmi Party has named journalist-turned-politician Isudan Gadhvi as its candidate for the top post.