New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was able to file his nomination from the New Delhi Assembly consti-tuency after a nerve-wracking delay of more than five hours, thanks to a long queue of candidates who suddenly materialized out of nowhere in the final hours.
The Aam Aadmi Party hinted at subterfuge and alleged the BJP had infiltrated 40 of them to block Kejriwal. Incidentally, Tuesday was the last day for filing papers and anyone who made it to the office of the Returning Officer before 3 pm was allowed to do so. There was, of course, no question of Kejriwal not making it. But fidgeting at number 45, the waiting that got the party's goat.
The Delhi chief minister had failed to file his nomination papers on Monday as he got delayed due to a massive roadshow.
So, on Tuesday, he reached the office of the Returning Officer around 12.30 p.m. but found himself in the queue, comprising some 50-odd independents. The deed done, he was able to leave only by 7 p.m.
As is often the case, the AAP saw a BJP hand in the protracted proceedings and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the latter of resorting to dirty tricks.
On Twitter, he wrote, "The BJP despatched 45 candidates to file their nomination papers as Independents before Kejriwal. The EC intentionally spent 30 minutes to an hour on those who did not have all the papers and those who did not have proposers -- all so that Kejriwal could be stopped from filing his nomination.
"The chief minister himself avoided dishing out any conspiracy theories and merely tweeted: "Waiting to file my nomination. My token no is 45. There are many people here to file their papers. Am so glad so many people are participating in democracy."
He later responded to Saurabh Bharadwaj's tweet, saying he was "enjoying" waiting with the other candidates. Many of them were first timers, he pointed out, adding that the AAP should hold them by the hand and chaperone them through the proceedings.
Finally, AAP celebrated Kejriwal’s moment of ‘release’ with a pompous tweet: You can stall him but you cannot stop him.
Later in the evening, the Delhi Election Office said there was no deliberate delay on their part. "For one candidate, a minimum of 30 to 35 minutes is taken to check nomination papers.
It being the last day of nomination, there was a huge rush of candidates," the office said. Delhi will vote on February 8 and the results will be declared three days later.