The delay in the nomination-filing process of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sparked a row Tuesday, with the Aam Aadmi Party alleging that an “organised group” of over 40 people, who also queued up to file nominations from the New Delhi seat, were fielded to “harass” the AAP chief. The District Election Officer (DEO) said the claims are false and no deliberate measure was taken to delay the nomination.
Kejriwal, accompanied by his family, reached the office of the returning officer at Jamnagar House around 11 am. As he was entering the SDM’s office, a group raised slogans, accusing him of trying to jump the queue.
On entering, the CM was handed token number 45, which meant there were 44 people before him. The nomination process of every individual takes at least 30 minutes. The CM was supposed to file his nomination Monday. But in a repeat of 2015, he failed to show up on time due to a delay during his road show.
At 2.22 pm, Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj tweeted, “Around 35 candidates sitting at RO office with CM, without proper nomination papers, without even 10 proposers. They are calling their proposers on phone to come. They are insisting unless their papers are complete and they file nomination, they won’t allow CM to file his.”
But the CM sought to play down the delay, saying it’s natural for those filing nominations for the first time to make procedural mistakes. “Waiting to file my nomination. My token number is 45. There are many people here to file nomination papers. I’m so glad so many people participating in democracy,” he tweeted.
He also responded to Bharadwaj on Twitter: “Doesn’t matter. Many of them are filing for the first time. They are bound to make mistakes. We also made mistakes the first time. We should handhold them. I am enjoying waiting with them. They are all part of my family.”
Bharadwaj also alleged an “organised group” of 50 candidates was showing up daily at Jamnagar House over the last four days, but leaving without filing nominations.
Kejriwal eventually managed to file his nomination at 6.30 pm.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia alleged the election office had deliberately given 30 minutes to one hour to every candidate, including those not having proper documentation or nominees, so that Kejriwal failed to file nomination. “Try as much as you want, BJP, you won’t be able to stop Kejriwal from filing nomination, nor will you be able to stop him from becoming CM for the third time. Your conspiracy won’t be successful,” he tweeted.
The DEO, in a statement, said: “Nomination of each candidate takes 30-35 minutes, depending on the sets of nomination papers. Although 3 pm was the deadline, there was a huge rush of aspiring candidates… In view of the last day of filing, candidates were allowed to file…, the delay is allowed as per law.”
Meanwhile, the final phase of AAP’s campaign will be centred around the slogan, “Arvind Kejriwal vs who”. It will be taken to the electorate through a series of roadshows and townhalls, covering all 70 constituencies and featuring the CM. Kejriwal will address two roadshows Wednesday across five constituencies — Burari, Badli, Adarsh Nagar. Krishna Nagar and Shahdara.
AAP Delhi convenor Gopal Rai said Kejriwal will hold eight town hall meetings till January 30, where he will speak about the promises made in the party’s ‘guarantee card’.
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