Gaurav Arora, the person AAP alleged was BJP’s East Delhi candidate Gautam Gambhir’s doppelganger on the last day of campaigning for Delhi elections, has come out to clarify what happened, saying he was part of the campaign from Day One.
A photo of Gambhir sitting inside a vehicle and a man looking and dressed like standing atop the same car during a roadshow on Friday had triggered a war of words between AAP and BJP. This led to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleging that the cricketer-turned-politician was using a doppelganger to escape from the summer heat.
Arora, however, turns out to be Gambhir’s childhood friend. Arora, who said he knew the former cricketer for over 20 years, claims to have been part of his campaign since Day One. Asserting that AAP’s dirty tricks department was at work again, Arora said had there been a ploy to use him as Gambhir’s “lookalike”, the BJP leader would not be in the car and resting at home.
“This is a totally baseless, false and very non-serious allegation by AAP. I have known Gautam Gambhir for over 20 years now. He is like my family,” Arora, who played alongside Gambhir for Delhi in the Under-19 team, told indianexpress.com.
Dishing out details of Friday’s roadshow, Arora said Gautam Gambhir felt giddy and unwell and moved inside his car after campaigning for hours at a stretch. He said there were many other party workers besides him who were waving and thanking the supporters in the vehicle.
“During the roadshow on Friday, Gautam Gambhir felt giddy and unwell and moved inside the car. It is clear even in the photos that he is sitting on the front seat. Had there been a lookalike, Gautam would not be in the car. And besides me, everyone on top of the vehicle was waving and thanking our supporters. What is wrong with that?” Arora said.
Gambhir had begun his roadshow around 11:30 am from Mayur Vihar Phase-III paper market. By 11:45 am, as the procession reached Trilokpuri, Arora had taken his place, also wearing a white kurta and cap like Gambhir. As the vehicle moved, crowds of workers tried to garland Arora as he waved towards the public.
On whether the public was misled during the road show, Arora said Gambhir was wearing a blue kurta while he was wearing a white one with a black jacket. “I have been standing atop the vehicle during his entire campaign and it was not something I did only yesterday. Gautam was sitting on the front seat in full public view. Where is the question of misleading anyone,” Arora said.
As a photo showing both men in the same frame emerged online, Sisodia tweeted: “This is the mahamilawat of Congress and BJP. Gautam Gambhir is sitting below in an AC car. He has a problem with the heat. A lookalike is standing in his place wearing a cap. Confusing the ‘duplicate’ for Gautam Gambhir, workers are garlanding him. And the one who is a duplicate is a Congress politician.”
ये कांग्रेस और बीजेपी की महामिलावट है. गौतम गम्भीर ए.सी. गाड़ी में नीचे बैठे है. उन्हें धूप में समस्या है. उनकी जगह उनका हमशक्ल कैंप लगाकर खड़ा है. कार्यकर्ता ‘डुप्लीकेट’ को गौतम गम्भीर समझकर माला पहना रहे हैं.
और जो डुप्लीकेट है वो असल में कांग्रेसी नेता है. https://t.co/bT0k0QYVSG
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) May 10, 2019
On allegations that he had links with the Congress, Arora said he had contested municipal elections in 2017 and everything was in the public domain. “I hold no position as of now in Congress. I am supporting Gautam because of my long friendship with him. This has nothing to do with political parties. A lot of his friends and family have been part of the campaign. And who doesn’t want to be with a legend,” Arora said.
Late Friday night, Gambhir tweeted: “Faced with a certain defeat, @AAP finds a fixation every day, this time they found my clone !!”