Why AAP is miffed with Surat candidate’s withdrawal from Gujarat assembly election | India News

NEW DELHI: In a dramatic development, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Surat (East) constituency Kanchan Jariwala on Wednesday withdrew his nomination from the forthcoming assembly election. The development has dealt a severe blow to Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP which governs Delhi and Punjab.
Alleging that the ruling BJP was behind the withdrawal, AAP petitioned the Election Commission (EC) to act on their complaint.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha tweeted a video clip and alleged that the local police and BJP “goons” forced Jariwala to withdraw his nomination. “Watch how police and BJP goons together – dragged our Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala to the RO (returning officer) office, forcing him to withdraw his nomination. The term ‘free and fair election’ has become a joke!” he said.

Kejriwal, the Delhi chief minister, earlier accused the BJP of trying to get Jariwala’s nomination rejected. He also expressed the apprehension that the AAP candidate had been kidnapped on November 15.
In a tweet, the AAP supremo said, “Our candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, BJP tried to get his nomination rejected. But his nomination was accepted. Later, he was being pressurised to withdraw his nomination. Has he been kidnapped?”

Led by Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, a team of AAP leaders and workers demonstrated against the BJP at the Central Election Commission headquarters at Delhi. They demanded swift action in the matter.
Sisodia alleged that Jariwala was kidnapped and his nomination was withdrawn at gunpoint. “What can be a bigger emergency than this for the Election Commission? That is why we have come to the door of the Central Election Commission with a request for immediate action,” he said.

Why AAP’s strong protest
Among all the seats that AAP is contesting in Gujarat, which goes to polls in two phases on December 1 and December 5, it stands the brightest chances of winning in Surat. Jariwala’s withdrawal of nomination from Surat (East) has dealt the most severe blow to the party which is aiming to wrest power from the BJP or at least replace the Congress as the principal opposition party.
Contesting for the first time in the municipal elections held in eight corporations of Gujarat – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Gandhinagar and Junagadh – in 2021, AAP performed decently in Surat and registered its presence in Gandhinagar and Rajkot.
Of the 120 seats in Surat Municipal Corporation, BJP won 93 while the Congress failed to open its account. AAP, securing 28.58 per cent of the votes, won 27 seats and replaced the Congress as the opposition party. In the 2016 election, BJP had won 80 out of 116 seats while the Congress had 36.
In the 44-seat Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation, BJP won 41, Congress two and AAP won one seat. The Congress garnered a vote share of 27.97 per cent against 46.93 per cent in 2016. AAP grew at its expense, securing 21.7 per cent of the votes.
In Rajkot Municipal Corporation, AAP secured 17 per cent of the vote share.
With these results in the civic polls, AAP is expecting to damage the BJP in the urban areas. Its promises of free electricity and water and cheap healthcare facilities are aimed at wooing the urban voters.
On the other hand, even though Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders may be conspicuous by their absence, the Congress is expected to display a decent performance in the rural areas.
The BJP leaders are aware of this. While addressing a rally last month, Modi said the Congress leaders were holding “khatla baithaks (meetings on cots)”. “I want to warn you. The Congress has made a new strategy. They are not in newspapers and social media… The Congress’s new strategy is to go village by village and fill poison amongst villagers,” he said.
Without naming AAP, the prime minister said the Congress had suddenly gone silent and outsourced the contract of creating fracas and abusing him to others.
AAP is expected to give some kind of a fight to the BJP in urban areas, particularly in Surat. Therefore, it has suffered a major jolt with the withdrawal of nomination by its Surat (East) candidate.

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