The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of circulating a derogatory pamphlet about its East Delhi election candidate Atishi Marlena. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Marlena read the purported pamphlet and alleged that her rival from the BJP, Gautam Gambhir, was circulating it.
Sisodia said, “The language in this pamphlet is so abusive and low that everybody will feel ashamed while reading it.”
Marlena, who broke down after reading the pamphlet, asked how Gambhir would ensure the safety of women in his constituency if he stooped so low to defeat her.
Sisodia criticised Gambhir on Twitter. “You want to be elected by distributing these handbills against me and Atishi?” he asked. “Shame on you Mr Gambhir! People of East Delhi know me and Atishi very well but through these handbills you have introduced yourself. This is your character.”
Meanwhile, Gambhir took to Twitter to counter accusations by saying that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had concocted the pamphlet. “I abhor your act of outraging a woman’s modesty, Arvind Kejriwal, and that too your own colleague,” Gambhir tweeted. “And all this for winning elections? ‘[You’re] filth Mr CM and someone needs your very own broom to clean your dirty mind.”
Gambhir challenged Kejriwal and Marlena to quit politics if they failed to prove that he was responsible for the pamphlet. “I declare that if it is proven that I did it, I will withdraw my candidature right now. If not, will you [Kejriwal and Marlena] quit politics?” The cricketer-turned-politician said he felt ashamed to have a chief minister like Kejriwal.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal also said he had not expected Gambhir to stoop so low. “How can women expect safety if people with such mentality are voted in?” Kejriwal tweeted. “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.”
The AAP has not responded to Gambhir’s allegations that they concocted the pamphlet material for publicity.
BJP spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam said the saffron party was disciplined and “would never resort to such practices”. “These are allegations made by AAP and you know the history of AAP, they have always made these kind of allegations only to prove a point and gain some sympathy vote,” Islam told Mirror Now. “But it will not happen, she’s a losing candidate and AAP is losing everywhere.”
Islam alleged the AAP itself had distributed the pamphlets. “We [BJP] will never do any character assassination, we will never circulate any pamphlet which is factually incorrect,” he added. “AAP has done that in the past, AAP has misled people.”