Shaheen Bagh protest sponsored by AAP: BJP to EC

Shaheen Bagh protest sponsored by AAP: BJP delegation to EC

Protesters from Shaheen Bagh shout slogans as they take part in a demonstration against India's new citizenship law at Jantar Mantar

The BJP on Thursday accused the AAP of "sponsoring" anti-CAA protests, including the one at Shaheen Bagh here and running a "proxy campaign" through them, as it urged the Election Commission to include expenses incurred on these demonstrations in the expenditure of AAP candidates.

A BJP delegation, which included Union ministers Harsh Vardhan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, submitted a memorandum to the EC, seeking appointment of an independent election expenditure observer to enquire into the matter to take appropriate action, party general secretary Bhupender Yadav said.

The party claimed that all the "acts at such sponsored public protests" is meant to improve the electoral prospects of AAP candidates and "harm" their BJP rivals. It also submitted "evidence", which included news reports and CD containing comments of Aam Aadmi Party leaders, to the EC.

"That it is pertinent to mention here that Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi CM), Manish Sisodia (Dy CM), Amanatullah Khan and many other leaders of the AAP have been openly supporting the protests because they are doing the election campaign under the garb of aforesaid rallies," it said, referring to anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the capital.

Yadav cited comments of these leaders in which they allegedly backed these protestors to make his point.

This "skullduggery" by the AAP violated the Model Code of Conduct and the provisions of rules relating to election expenditure, the BJP said, adding that it is "distorting" the level-playing field.

He told reporters that the AAP is "sponsoring" these protests which serve as a "proxy campaign" of its candidates.

The BJP also urged the EC to appoint an independent observer to keep an eye on the "rapid pace" at which these protests are spreading throughout Delhi due to the "irresponsible" remarks of AAP leaders.

"In the process, the whole environment of Delhi has been poisoned by several such motivated protests seeking to benefit the AAP by acting as its proxy," it added.

The EC assured the BJP delegation of looking into their matter, Yadav said.

The AAP and the the BJP are locked in a keen battle for the February 8 elections to the Delhi assembly. The BJP is pulling out all the stops to oust the AAP from power.

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