BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Delhi North West Hans Raj Hans today responded to allegations he had earlier converted to Islam and is therefore ineligible to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from a seat reserved for Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe members.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday claimed Hans Raj Hans, who was a member of the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) before joining the BJP, would be declared "ineligible" based on his conversion.
In response, the popular folk singer-turned politician said he was deeply hurt, "This is a lie from Arvind Kejriwal that I had embraced Islam. I always knew he does drama. I have a passport in the name of Hans Raj Hans. I will do defamation case on him if he doesn't mend his ways".
Hans Raj Hans, BJP candidate, on AAP's allegations that he converted to Islam&can't fight from reserved seat:Jhoote aadmi ne phir jhoot bola.Gandagi ki paribasha ko ujagar karne wale shakshiyat ko dekhna hai toh vo Kejriwal hai.Defamation ka case karenge aur SC/ST ka Act lagaenge pic.twitter.com/vd0yvooCsKANI (@ANI) May 3, 2019
Mr Kejriwal had earlier tagged a tweet from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Rajendra Pal Gautam, in which it was claimed Hans Raj Hans deliberately concealed information about his conversion.
The chief minister had written, "Hans Raj Hans is ineligible to fight from a reserved seat. He will finally be declared ineligible. Voters from North West Delhi shud not waste their votes on him".
According to AAP, Hans Raj Hans converted in February 2014 and "deliberately concealed this information from the Election Commission".
The party also claimed he had changed his name to Mohammed Yusuf but announced he would continue working within the music industry under his old name.
"As per EC guidelines, North West Delhi is a reserved seat. But BJP's @HansRajHansHRH doesn't come from reserved category as he has already converted into Islam in 2014 . He deliberately concealed this information from EC. This complete violation of EC rules."- @AdvRajendraPalpic.twitter.com/SP6tYHmzsNAAP (@AamAadmiParty) May 2, 2019
Hans Raj Hans, whose nomination by the BJP is on the strength of his position as a leader of the Valmiki caste, also referenced his family in his defense on the issue.
He said, "I was born in a Valmiki family and my mother is a worshiper of Saint Valmiki and she would have killed me if I would have converted to Islam".
He also had sharp words for Mr Kejriwal, calling him a "liar" who "betrayed his guru, Anna Hazare" and alleging that the charges of conversion were brought about to steal votes from the Valmiki community.
The singer said, "I pity his (Kejriwal''s) intelligence. He seems to be scared that the Valmiki community will not vote for him".
The BJP also spoke out in defense of their candidate and hit out at AAP, saying, "They have lost mental balance sensing their defeat in the Lok Sabha election. With people deserting them, they are trying all sorts of propaganda to remain in the news".
Hans Raj Hans is contesting the Delhi North West seat against Congress candidate Rajesh Lilothia and AAP's Guggan Singh. The seat is currently held by the BJP.
All seven of Delhi's Lok Sabha constituencies go to the polls on May 12 in the sixth phase of voting. Election results will be declared on May 23.