Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday alleged that its candidates in Mumbai were repeatedly being denied permissions to hold rallies, road shows and other events by local authorities.
“While the other parties are granted permissions with ease, AAP has been consistently harassed by the authorities and the volunteers seeking permissions are made to run from pillar-to-post,” the party said in a statement. “Unlike other parties, which use political clout and connections, AAP is run by an army of volunteers who ensure that every single rule is followed, but we are finding it hard to cope with the growing discomfort caused in seeking permissions,” it said.
“AAP strongly feels that there are political forces trying to show their clout and deny AAP the right to free and fair campaigning,” it alleged. South-Central Mumbai candidate Sundar Balakrishnan was forced to sit on a dharna on Tuesday as he was denied permission to hold a rally in his constituency. Only much later he was granted permission to hold the rally.
In other instances, applications for 10 AM rallies, applied for days in advance are granted at 12 noon on the day of the rally, the statement said.
“We strongly feel that AAP routes are adjusted to accommodate other parties but sometimes a party books a whole area and AAP is denied permission to campaign in those areas. The authorities are persistent about every detail, which they should be but other parties are not asked to furnish particulars of cars, bikes,” the party said. “AAP is proud of the independent and strict conduct of the Election Commission, but individuals are perhaps getting compromised by political pressure. Despite these hurdles AAP will continue the battle and work together with Election Commission to reinforce democracy,” the statement said.