While the AAP maintained that the man accused of raping a 21-year-old woman in West Delhi’s Paschim Vihar was not a party member, the BJP trained its guns on the AAP government and alleged that it was trying to “save” a rape accused.
At a press conference, BJP leader Vijender Gupta alleged that the accused, Aftab Siddiqui, was an AAP volunteer.
He accused the AAP government of allegedly “pressuring” police against registering an FIR against Aftab.
Gupta also released photographs, which, he claimed, established Aftab’s “close political” ties with several AAP leaders.
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The BJP leader has “challenged” the AAP to deny the veracity of the photographs and urged police to investigate the matter thoroughly.
However, the AAP denied Gupta’s charge and said the allegations were baseless. “He (Aftab) is not a party volunteer. We don’t have anyone with such a name in Paschim Vihar area. The BJP has put up some photographs of an Eid meeting. This man has nothing to do with the AAP. We have a fixed party structure at every level, including the wards. This is just BJP’s frustration” AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said.
The alleged rape threatens to become the focal point of another political standoff between the BJP and AAP in the national capital. Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay questioned Kejriwal’s silence on the case. He claimed that the party had attempted to reap political capital from previous cases of crime against women, but were silent in this matter.
“Whether it was the Nirbhaya case or last month’s Anand Parbat incident— (CM) Arvind Kejriwal had tried to take maximum political benefit of such cases. But his silence on the Paschim Vihar incident involving his own party worker speaks volumes on his dual moral and political standards. We have seen this repeatedly — the CM goes silent whenever issues involving his partymen come out. I urge the CM to condemn every unlawful incident and stop playing politics on humanitarian issues like rape,” said Upadhyay.
The Anand Parbat case, which Upadhyay referred to, had become the nucleus of AAP’s demand for transferring the control of the Delhi Police to the Delhi government. The AAP had vociferously alleged that police was being “used” by the BJP-ruled Central government to target AAP workers, and consequently, issues such as women’s safety were being ignored.