Gautam Gambhir, the BJP's East Delhi candidate, today sent a notice to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Atishi demanding an "unconditional apology" after the Aam Aadmi Party accused him of circulating an offensive pamphlet on his rival Atishi. Earlier on Thursday, he said he would file a defamation case against Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party. The former cricketer also pledged to quit politics, even if it meant resigning the day he won the election, if AAP proved its charge. In the notice, the trio was asked to withdraw their allegations against Mr Gambhir and tender an unconditional apology.
Atishi broke down at a press conference called by AAP, where leaders displayed a pamphlet full of religious and sexist attacks on the candidate. "If Gambhir can stoop so low to defeat a strong woman like me, how can he ensure security for women as an MP?" asked the 37-year-old Oxford alumnus.
Gautam Gambhir put out a series of tweets accusing AAP of making up the allegations in a desperate plan to try and win the election. Speaking to NDTV, he alleged that AAP had circulated the pamphlets.
"They have been the ones who distribute pamphlets. I don't know where that pamphlet has come from. It has been there for a long time...tactics on how to malign someone's image. I'm sure none from BJP have ever been involved in something like this. I can give you in writing neither me neither my entire team nor our workers have ever got into something like this," he said.
He didn't explain on what basis he was accusing AAP of denigrating its own candidate.
The ex-cricketer said he was "ashamed" that AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was the Chief Minister of Delhi, his city. "I used to call him Kejriwal-ji. Had I not been in politics, I would not even have taken such a person's name," he added.
I abhor your act of outraging a woman's modesty @ArvindKejriwal and that too your own colleague. And all this for winning elections? U r filth Mr CM and someone needs ur very own झाड़ू to clean ur dirty mind.— Chowkidar Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) May 9, 2019
Gautam Gambhir, who retired from cricket in December, faces AAP's Atishi and Congress's Arvinder Singh Lovely in the East Delhi seat.
He said with five women in his family, he knew how important women were and how much he respected women. "If you prove your allegations, then this moment I will give up politics. If some say I can't withdraw from the case now, then even if I win, I will resign on the first day. Will Kejriwal accept the same challenge," said the 37-year-old.
The escalation in the AAP-BJP war took place as campaigning tapered down for voting in Delhi on Sunday for the national election. All seven seats of Delhi are with the BJP.
"Do you know why good people don't come to politics? Because people like Arvind Kejriwal are present. Who can stoop to this level to win an election? I was taught that even if it is the World Cup Final, even when the whole country is on one side, you play a fair game," said Mr Gambhir.