The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has put up a hoarding outside its Delhi office that features pictures of leaders from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with the caption: "MCD ki baagdor inko? (Do you want to give the MCD's responsibility to them?)."
The AAP leaders featured in the hoarding have cases of sexual assault, land-grabbing, money laundering and others, registered against them.
This comes just ahead of the Delhi civic polls where the BJP, AAP and the Congress are pitted against each other. The elections are scheduled to be held in 272 wards on April 23, 2017. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is currently under the BJP.
Tajinder Bagga, BJP Delhi spokesperson, spoke to International Business Times India about the intention behind putting the hoarding.
He said: "The AAP had first put up a hoarding with the caption 'MCD ki baagdor kisko ? Kejriwal ya Vijendra Gupta'. This hoarding is not in response to the hoarding put up by AAP. However, we wanted to portray the true face of Arvind Kejriwal by putting up this hoarding of AAP leaders who have cases registered against them. There are 15 to 16 AAP leaders who have cases registered against them."
He added: "Kejriwal had himself said that he could guarantee that the 70 people he selected were honest and that he would suspend anyone who indulged in corrupt activities. All these eight leaders pictured in the hoarding have cases of molestation, assault, domestic violence, land-grabbing, fake degrees and corruption registered against them. Why is Kejriwal quiet now? What happened to his promise?"
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The eight "tainted" leaders pictured on the hoarding put up outside the Delhi office of the BJP are — Naresh Yadav (allegedly insulted the Koran), Somnath Bharti (domestic violence), Manoj Kumar (land-grabbing), Satyendra Jain (money-laundering), Sandeep Kumar (sex video), Amanatullah Khan (allegedly molested his sister-in-law), Jitendra Singh Tomar (fake degree case) and Dinesh Mohaniya (sexual assault).
Bagga also revealed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath may campaign for the BJP ahead of the MCD polls if his schedule permits.
He said that Adityanath is "one of our star campaigners and we have requested him to campaign for us in Delhi for one or two days. However, everything depends on his schedule and his availability since he is looking after several important matters in Uttar Pradesh. If he has the time, he will come to Delhi to campaign for the party".
Ankit Lal, AAP's social media in-charge, responded to the hoarding put up by the BJP by saying that "these are mere allegations".
He told IBTimes India: "All the cases against AAP leaders have either been quashed by the court or no FIR has been registered against them or investigation has yet to begin. No leader has been convicted by the court of law.
"All these are baseless, political allegations. The BJP is behaving as if the leaders have been convicted of the crimes. It is sad to see the BJP indulge in cheap politics and disrupt the level of discourse when the prime minister of this country is trying to maintain one at the higher level."
Lal added: "As far as the hoarding put up by AAP is concerned, I would like to ask: Have we anywhere said that Vijendra Gupta is corrupt? Have we said anything that is not on record?"
When asked if the AAP would file a defamation case against the BJP, Lal told IBTimes India: "All this is political rhetoric. These are just mere political allegations. Filing a defamation case is not the right way to go about such issues. If we keep filing defamation cases against such statements, everyone would keep going to the court of law every other day. It is better to deal with it in the court of the people rather than in court of law."
However, the Delhi BJP approached the Election Commission (EC) over the "distorted and villainous" depiction of its MLA Vijender Gupta by the Aam Admi Party in its election poster, which has been put up in several places in the capital. Gupta lodged a formal complaint before the state election commissioner seeking action against AAP.
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