AAP withdraws support to its Rajouri Garden candidate
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announces the withdrawal of its support to its own official candidate, Pritpal Singh Saluja, from Rajouri Garden constituency in the Delhi Assembly elections. It has been brought to our notice that an FIR was registered against him and 3 of his family members in Oct 2012 at Lucknow. It appears that the charge-sheet for Dowry harassment etc was filed against him and some family members by the Lucknow Police in August 2013. A notice was issued by the trial court to him on November 11, 2013, which does not appear to have reached him before November 14, 2013. Therefore, his declaration in the nomination form that no criminal case was pending against him, maybe technically correct.
It also appears that some other complaints of domestic violence had been made against him and his family members by his daughter-in-law. None of the charges against Shri Saluja have been proven in any court of law. He claims that he is innocent and will fight this charge-sheet in court.
However, Shri Saluja did not bring these facts to the attention of the party while applying for candidature. The Political Affairs Committee of AAP has taken a serious view of the lapse and in furtherance of its resolve to retire a candidate against whom any serious facts come to the notice of the party which show that he does not conform to the moral standards expected from candidates of the Party, it has decided to withdraw the party’s support to Shri Saluja for the forthcoming Delhi elections.
We are aware that the last date for filing of nominations and withdrawal has passed and therefore the withdrawal of support at this stage would mean that though technically Shri Saluja would continue on the ballot as a candidate of the party but it would effectively mean that the party would leave the seat vacant.
AAP has entered politics not for the sake of power but to clean the polity and change the presently corrupted political system. It was in-keeping with these objectives and principles of the party that even when a demonstrably malicious and edited CD was released against some of the candidates of our party, we immediately approached the Election Commission and asked them to inquire to see any of our candidates are seen to be doing anything illegal, unethical or against the Code of Conduct. We made a public declaration and assured the commission that we would ourselves withdraw those indicted by the Commission even if it means leaving those seats vacant.
We hope that this unprecedented and historic step taken by AAP in withdrawing our candidate even without any legal obligation to do so will put pressure on other political parties to follow suit and would lead to the cleaning of our polity.
Update from Election Commission:
A delegation of AAP met the members of the Election Commission today to provide them with our analysis of the raw footage of Mediasarkar ‘sting CD’ which shows the raw footage has been maliciously edited to delete critical portions from the CD which was released in which our candidates were heard saying that they would not be willing to do anything illegal or wrong.
The Party appraised the Election Commission that similar attempts to smear the reputation of the Party and its candidates would be made in the last few days of the campaign by vested political interests through the release of other such CDs. The party thus requested the ECI to issue a general order requiring the media to get such CDs of a political nature certified from the election commission before they are broadcasted, in line with such requirement for political parties and their candidates. In the absence of such requirements it becomes easy for any political parties or their candidates to release such edited and fabricated CDs against their political rivals thus viciating the fairness of the elections. The Election Commission said it is seriously examining the matter and would take an appropriate decision shortly.