A day of drama marked the end of the election campaign in Delhi, with BJP candidate from East Delhi and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Friday vowing to “hang myself in public” if his opponent, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Atishi can prove that he circulated a slanderous pamphlet against her.
Polling for seven Lok Sabha seats in the Capital will take place on May 12.
Atishi has lodged a formal complaint with the Delhi Commission for Women over an “obscene and derogatory” pamphlet targeting her distributed in the constituency, saying she holds the BJP and Gautam Gambhir directly responsible.
Atishi’s complaint to the DCW said the pamphlet was a “textbook case of character assassination of a woman who has chosen to enter the public life”.
She claimed no other entity except the BJP and Gautam Gambhir “stood to gain from spreading such virulently hateful propaganda against a woman”.
“Ever since I took the plunge into active politics, I faced a fair amount of attacks and criticism from political rivals and I had learnt to take it with a pinch of salt. However, earlier this week, a most disturbing pamphlet was brought to my notice by our well-wishers who received it by post and other means, such as newspaper inserts and by distribution in parks,” she said in a letter to the DCW.
Gautam Gambhir has already sent defamation notices to Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Atishi, asking them to withdraw their charges against him and tender an unconditional apology or face legal action.
Gambhir also said he will “hang” himself in public, if AAP can prove that he has any link to the derogatory pamphlet.
“Challenger Number 3 to @ArvindKejriwal and @aap . If he can prove that I have anything to do with this pamphlet filth, then I will hang myself in public. Otherwise @ArvindKejriwal should quit politics. Accepted?” Gambhir tweeted.
The BJP also approached the East Delhi Parliamentary seat returning officer, K Mahesh, seeking a police probe into the accusations against Gambhir.
The complaint was lodged by the BJP’s Krishna Nagar councillor Sandeep Kapoor with the District Magistrate and returning officer of East Delhi, seeking a police probe in the matter, said Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana.
Manish Sisodia, meanwhile, threatened to file a counter suit in the matter and said he would be sending a notice for defamation to him. “We are the ones being defamed, we will file a defamation case against him,” Sisodia said.
As accusations flew thick and fast through the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal posted his own concerns to the country. “My fellow countrymen, please think before you vote. If Modiji comes back, Amit Shah will be Home Minister. Please think of what will happen to the country if Amit Shah becomes Home Minister and then vote,” Kejriwal said on Twitter.
Adding more to the bitterness, an AAP volunteer has filed a criminal defamation complaint against BJP’s North East Delhi candidate Manoj Tiwari and spokesperson Harish Khurana for allegedly defaming him in connection with an assault on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during a poll rally recently.
The complainant also sought prosecution of Tiwari and Khurana for alleged criminal conspiracy, as they termed the incident as “staged” by Kejriwal. The matter is listed before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal for May 13.