A day before campaigning for the Lok Sabha election ends in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party’s East Delhi candidate Atishi Thursday accused rival BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir of distributing across the constituency a pamphlet containing derogatory remarks on her personal life.
Gambhir denied the allegation and sent a defamation notice to AAP leaders while suggesting that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who he referred to as “filth”, was behind the unsigned pamphlet titled ‘Atishi Marlena – Know Your Candidate’.
Addressing a press conference, Atishi, who is widely credited for the reforms in Delhi’s government school system, broke down while reading the contents of the pamphlet. Written in English, the pamphlet contains a string of falsehoods on Atishi’s educational qualifications, her marriage and derogatory references about Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, including his caste.
East Delhi returning officer K Mahesh has written to the east Delhi DCP to register an FIR in the matter.
“The pamphlet has not been signed by anyone but it’s definitely some mischief mongering. I’ve told him (DCP) that prima facie it is a case of defamation,” said Mahesh. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) also wrote to the DCP, asking him to provide details of action taken in the matter by Saturday.
A Rhodes Scholar and an Oxford graduate, Atishi served as Advisor to Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, for three years at a token salary of Re 1 until the Centre struck down her appointment on procedural grounds in April 2018.
With polling to be held on Sunday, the political discourse in Delhi has taken an ugly turn. On Tuesday, South Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri had called Kejriwal a ‘bhadwa’ (pimp) during a speech where Union Minister of State Giriraj Singh was also present.
“I am sad thinking how politics in our country can stoop so low. I had welcomed Gautam Gambhir when he came to contest. I had said that if good people join politics, it will only benefit the country. But Gambhir and his party have shown to what extent they can stoop. Gambhir has got the pamphlet distributed in apartment complexes and areas like Vivek Vihar, Krishna Nagar through newspapers,” Atishi alleged.
Denying her accusations, Gambhir said on Twitter that if his role in the pamphlet was proven, he would withdraw from the poll fray. He also accused Kejriwal of distributing it. “I abhor your act of outraging a woman’s modesty Arvind Kejriwal and that too your own colleague. And all this for winning elections? You are filth Mr CM and someone needs your very own jhadoo to clean your dirty mind,” he said.
“Never imagined Gautam Gambhir to stoop so low. How can women expect safety if people with such mentality are voted in? Atishi, stay strong. I can imagine how difficult it must be for you. It is precisely this kind of forces we have to fight against,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
And while Delhi BJP Spokesperson Harish Khurana said they will file an FIR against the AAP for spreading falsehood, East Delhi Congress candidate Arvinder Singh Lovely said he was against such “petty politics”.
“We all are contestants and should not endorse this type of language for anyone. I never personalise things during my speeches and this incident has made me re-think whether I will want to continue with the political career in future. Both the parties should not indulge in cross-allegations,” said Lovely.
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