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Atishi hits out at EC after notice on poaching remark | Latest News Delhi

The Election Commission (EC) on Friday issued a notice to senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi minister Atishi over her remarks that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) approached her to join the party and save her political career. It asked Atishi to furnish a para-wise response to the matter by Monday noon.

Atishi (HT Archive)

After the notice was issued, Atishi on Friday slammed EC, and questioned if the poll panel has become a “subsidiary organisation” of the BJP. She said the BJP “planted” the EC notice in the media even before she received it on mail.

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The EC notice is based on the BJP’s complaint, which alleged that the AAP leader has violated the model code of conduct and made unsubstantiated allegations against the party.

The notice said that Atishi is a minister in the Delhi government and a leader of a national party. Electors tend to believe whatever is being said on public forums by their leaders and in that sense the statements made by them affect the campaign discourse, it added.

The poll body said, “It is expected that there must be a factual foundation to the quoted statements made by you and when the veracity of the statements made by you is contested, then you must be able to back your statements by a factual basis.”

On Tuesday, Atishi claimed that the BJP approached her to join their ranks through a “very close person”. The minister added that she along with three other AAP leaders — Saurabh Bharadwaj, Raghav Chadha, and Durgesh Pathak — will be next in line to be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

On Wednesday, the BJP’s Delhi unit sent a defamation notice to Atishi and demanded a public apology for making such claims.

Speaking during a press conference on Friday, Atishi said, “Has the Election Commission of India become a subsidiary organisation of BJP? When ED arrested a sitting chief minister and an important face of the opposition when the model code of conduct was in force, did EC send notice to ED. Did EC send a notice to the Income Tax department after it froze the bank accounts of the country’s big opposition party? Then why doesn’t EC take action against ED and the I-T department?”

“The EC changes the chief secretary, director general of police (DGP) and home secretary in opposition-ruled government, but when the opposition leaders visited EC and sought the removal of CBI and ED directors till the elections are over, EC did not take any action,” she added.

Atishi said EC must act in a non-partisan manner and not bow down to the BJP-led central government.

Further attacking EC, the AAP leader said, “This is a matter of concern for the country that questions are being raised on the impartiality of the agency, which has the responsibility to conduct free, fair and impartial elections, and provide a level playing field. The EC should not bow down to the BJP.”

Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva said, “Atishi failed to provide evidence of who approached her, how, and when. The AAP is undergoing a crisis in Delhi, which is why they are making such baseless allegations out of frustration. But we will not let her get away with this.”

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