With phase one of polling for Gujarat Assembly Elections underway, the AAP vs BJP battle heats up. The BJP has now accused the AAP of ‘encouraging liquor use’ during election campaigning.
The BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla released a video clip of AAP leader and MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj who is heard saying that in villages during elections, it feels like a “Holi-Diwali" festivities. He is accused of implying that men are ‘set’ thanks to the alcohol supply they get.
Bharadwaj is also heard saying, “We know when the liquor is being distributed in some areas and whenever it is being distributed, we do not tell the police or the Election Commission about it. We say if something good is happening to someone then let it distribute as people enjoy this."
Shocker! huge insult of people who live in villages & of Diwali / Holi- Saurabh Bharadwaj says during elections “Gaon vale “set” ho jaate hai”- they don’t ask for water but for soda! Insults Holi & Diwali tooThis man is a MLA & openly encouraging use of Sharab in elections! 1/2 pic.twitter.com/vcMQiyyfCp
— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) December 1, 2022
The BJP Spokesperson slammed the party leader and called for the Election Commission to take action against the party and its leader. “It is shocking that the AAP spokesperson is labelling all men living in villages as alcoholics. It is outrageous that he says that the mood during elections are like that of Holi and Diwali and that men are set because of liquor drinking,” Poonawalla said.
“No wonder his govt also did Sharab Ghotala. Now promoting and endorsing use of liquor in elections. Will AAP sack this neta for his comments on villages / villagers and on Holi & Diwali? ECI must also take note!,” Ponawalla tweeted accusing the AAP of violating code of conduct.
The video comes amid a fierce faceoff between AAP and the BJP in Gujarat. Earlier this week, PM Modi and Arvind Kejriwal were both in Surat to campaign for the elections. While PM Modi maintained that AAP stands no chance of making a mark in Gujarat, the Delhi CM assured that AAP was going to make it big in Gujarat.
Voting for 89 seats in the first phase of Gujarat elections began at 8 am on Thursday. People were seen queueing up outside booths across the region on Thursday morning, and the Chief Election Commissioner has said that record number of votes is expected this year. Among the key candidates in the first phase are AAP’s Chief Ministerial face Isudan Gadhvi, from Khambhalia in Saurashtra region and Rivaba Jadeja, Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife who is BJP’s candidate from Jamnagar North.
Apart from the BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), 36 other political outfits, including the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) have also fielded candidates in various seats which will go to polls in the first phase.
The BJP and Congress are contesting in all the 89 seats while new poll entrant AAP is contesting in 88 seats, as its candidate from Surat East constituency had withdrawn his candidature.
As many as 339 independents are also in the fray in the first phase of polls. In other parties, the BSP has fielded 57 candidates, BTP 14 and CPI-M four candidates. Out of the total 788 candidates, 70 are women including nine fielded by the BJP, six by the Congress and five by the AAP.
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