Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gautam Gambhir on Thursday issued a defamation notice to his Aam Aadmi Party election opponent Atishi Marlena after she claimed that he was behind the circulation of a pamphlet with derogatory and vulgar remarks about her, News18 reported. The notice was also sent to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy, Manish Sisodia.

Gambhir and Marlena are contesting against each other in the East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, which will vote on Sunday along with six other constituencies of Delhi.

In the defamation notice, Gambhir’s lawyers said he had no knowledge of the contents or the circulation of the pamphlet, and he unequivocally condemns it. The notice said the allegations were made just three days before the election to “illegally influence the minds of the voters and tarnish the pristine image” of Gambhir.

Apart from being a renowned former international cricketer, Gambhir is involved in philanthropic work too, and has “great honour and reputation in the society”, the notice said. It said that the Aam Aadmi Party, in its press conference and tweets, had “in a calculated and coordinated manner”, wrongly alleged that the pamphlets were distributed by Gambhir or his behest.

The legal notice asked the Aam Aadmi Party leaders to apologise for their statements or face legal action.

Meanwhile, Gambhir told ANI: “I am from a family where I have been taught to respect women. I didn’t know CM Arvind Kejriwal would stoop so low. I have filed a defamation case.”

On Thursday, the Delhi Commission for Women issued a notice to the Delhi Police asking whether it has registered a case FIR in connection with the pamphlets.

The pamphlet

On Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party accused the BJP and Gambhir of circulating the derogatory pamphlet. “The language in this pamphlet is so abusive and low that everybody will feel ashamed while reading it,” Sisodia said at a press conference. Marlena broke down after reading from the pamphlet, and asked how Gambhir would ensure the safety of women in his constituency if he stooped so low to defeat her.

Gambhir countered the 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, and said he would withdraw his candidature if it was proven that he was involved.

The AAP has not responded to Gambhir’s allegations that they concocted the pamphlet material for publicity.