A day after the AAP and BJP in Delhi blamed each other for distributing a pamphlet containing derogatory claims about AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi, a newspaper vendor told The Indian Express Friday that he had been paid to insert 300 such pamphlets inside newspapers distributed in Yojana Vihar and Savita Vihar.
While Atishi and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that rival BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir was behind the pamphlets, the cricketer-turned-politician denied the allegation, insisting that if AAP produces proof, he will “hang himself in public”.
A newspaper vendor in east Delhi’s Yojana Vihar area, who did not wish to be identified, told The Indian Express: “I received 300 of the pamphlets from a vendor early Thursday morning, and put them between newspapers. My employees then distributed them to homes across A and C blocks, Yojana Vihar, and some houses in Savita Vihar.”
“The standard rate is Rs 15 per 100 pamphlets, and that’s what I got. The pamphlets were given to a few vendors at B block Vivek Vihar, where we gather every morning to collect newspapers at 5.30 am,” he added.
At least two households — in Yojana Vihar and IP Extension — confirmed getting the pamphlets inside newspapers.
When contacted, Ramakant, general secretary of the Newspaper Vendor Association, denied giving the pamphlets to newspaper vendors. “These pamphlets were not distributed by our employees. We read the content of all pamphlets and we did not give these out. Some other people have done this,” he said. He said that “for the last eight days, we’ve been inserting AAP pamphlets with Atishi’s accomplishments” inside newspapers.
Shantha Balakrishnan, a resident of Himvarsha Apartments in IP Extension and a retired information services officer, said: “I got the pamphlet along with the three newspapers I get every morning. I didn’t pay heed to it at the time but realised others must have also got it when I saw what had happened in the news.”
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Meanwhile, the East Delhi Returning Officer directed police to register an FIR in the matter. DCP (East) Jasmeet Singh said they had received the complaint and were ascertaining if a case can be registered in the matter. “We are taking legal opinion,” he said.
AAP, meanwhile, sent a defamation notice to Gambhir and BJP over the issue Friday.
(With inputs from Ananya Tiwari, an intern with The Indian Express)