“The Aam Aadmi Party strongly condemns the attempts by BJP workers to disrupt the movement of its leaders, including national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, at Varanasi on Thursday night,” the party said in a statement.
AAP leaders were gheraoed by a huge group of protesters here on Thursday night. Police had to use mild force to disperse the crowd before whisking away Kejriwal.
Even on Friday, protesters gathered at various places visited by Kejriwal and other AAP leaders and shouted slogans. Meanwhile, BJP has distanced itself from last night’s incident saying that the protesters must be locals who might be opposed to Kejriwal.
AAP, however, continued to insist that the protesters were BJP workers and said that this was not for the first time that the saffron party has tried to create hurdles in Kejriwal’s campaign.
“BJP workers tried to block the movement of Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh at a busy chowk in the town. They not only indulged in illegal activities in full public view, but also made obscene gestures and used abusive language,” AAP said.
“Such an attempt by the BJP workers, in a constituency from where this party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is contesting elections, is a clear sign of the saffron party deliberately trying to vitiate the election atmosphere.
“The AAP will not be cowed down by such unacceptable behaviour of the BJP, and demands that the Election Commission should ensure that no party should be allowed to create trouble during the elections,” it added.
“The saffron party, which runs away from a healthy debate and avoids answering questions, is deliberately trying to create tension with a view to disrupt any possibility of the election being fought on real issues,” AAP alleged.
During his last visit here, Kejriwal saw eggs and ink being thrown at him. He has also been target of physical, verbal and ink-assaults at other places including Delhi.
The party, however, appealed to its volunteers and supporters “to peacefully continue their public mobilisation and not to get distracted by the nefarious tactics of the BJP and its workers”.
Reacting to last night’s incident, Kejriwal this morning said that there was nothing unusual about such protests as he was taking on “biggest vested interests” of the country.
Protesters must be some misguided youth with whom I would like to sit and discuss their opposition, he said. Kejriwal is likely to leave tomorrow for Amethi, where his party colleague Kumar Vishwas is fighting against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s Smriti Irani. He may return to Varanasi on April 22 after which he is likely to file nomination.