Model Code Fails to Contain AAP

Senior AAP leaders questioned in the wake of the party’s cadre storming the BJP headquarters in Delhi

Souzeina S Mushtaq 

Several Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, including Ashutosh and Shazia Ilmi, were taken for questioning by the Delhi Police for alleged rioting after party workers clashed with members of the BJP outside its headquarters yesterday. The other 14 workers, who were arrested, were granted bail. 

“My name is in the FIR, so the police is taking me to the station. I am abiding with them,” said Ilmi. She claimed innocence, saying everyone saw that “I did not raise my hand even once. Delhi Police’s version that stone-pelting started from AAP's side is absolutely untrue.” 

Another AAP leader Ashutosh appealed to his supporters to remain calm. “I am going with the police to assist with the investigation, I appeal to supporters to maintain calm. I am a law-abiding citizen of India. I do not believe in violence. I will fully co-operate with the Delhi Police,” he said before being taken for questioning. 

The AAP leaders have been booked under Sections 145, 147, 149, 37, 353 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code. 

The violence came on a day the EC announced the Lok Sabha poll schedule and the police in Gujarat detained Kejriwal – who had just begun a four-day tour of the state – from his car alleging violation of the model code of conduct by travelling in a cavalcade. Kejriwal's convoy also came under attack by unidentified people at Kharohi, near Bhuj in Gujarat, after the police released him. However, reports claimed that Kejriwal was not present in the car when the AAP convoy was attacked. 

AAP workers had protested outside BJP headquarters in Lucknow and Delhi yesterday, shortly after the incident. The protests soon turned violent as workers from both parties started pelting stones at each other. Delhi Police had to use water cannon to disperse them. 

Earlier this morning, Ashutosh had tweeted, “No arrest of BJP leaders and activists till now by Delhi Police? Is BJP and Police hand in glove!!!” 

The AAP leaders were served notices under Section 160 of the CrPC to join in the police investigations after the BJP registered a complaint against the party. BJP leaders Dr Harsh Vardhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Nalin Kohli had met the Election Commissioner to register their complaint against the AAP. Acting on the complaint, the Election Commission issued a notice to the AAP for violating the model code of conduct. The EC asked AAP to explain its stand within 24 hours.

 The AAP workers are planning to approach the Election Commission today to demand a thorough probe into the incidents in Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, the state BJP leaders have also urged the Election Commission to take appropriate action against the erring AAP workers. 

The BJP also slammed the Congress and AAP for trying to divert attention by resorting to cheap tactics ahead of Lok Sabha polls. “Why is Congress acting as AAP's spokesperson? Again using pawns to fight? These pawns have no credibility,” said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. 

BJP leaders also accused AAP of deliberately creating an atmosphere of anarchy and chaos in the country “so that the attention of the common man may be diverted from the wave of Narendra Modi in the entire country and put hindrance in the way of becoming the Prime Minister of the country.”