New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Hours after Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) East Delhi candidate Atishi on Thursday broke down at a press conference where she and her party accused her Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rival Gautam Gambhir of circulating derogatory pamphlets about her, the cricketer-turned-politician denied the charge and said that he shall file a defamation suite against them.
Earlier in the day, Atishi said at a press conference, “I feel very sad as I speak to the media. I feel sad that politics has stooped so low in the country.”
“When Gambhir joined politics, I told him that good people are important in this field. But he and his party have shown how low they can go,” she said, referring to the pamphlets circulated with newspapers across the constituency.
“I am not in politics for money or fame,” said Atishi, who has played a key role in reshaping the school education system in the capital.
Atishi then became emotional and broke down.
“If Gambhir can stoop so low to defeat a strong woman like me, how can he ensure security for women as an MP,” she asked.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was present at the presser, added: “Gambhir circulated derogatory pamphlets about Atishi. The language in this pamphlet is so abusive that anybody who reads it will feel ashamed.”
He said when Gambhir played cricket for India, the nation clapped for him. “But we never in our worst dream thought that this man would stoop this low to win an election.”
Denying the charge against him, Gambhir said he will withdraw his nomination if Atishi’s accusations were proven correct, adding that he would also file a defamation suite against the AAP leaders.
In a series of tweets, he said: “My Challenge no.2 @ArvindKejriwal @AtishiAAP
I declare that if its proven that I did it, I will withdraw my candidature right now. If not, will u quit politics?”
“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 ‘jharu’ to clean ur dirty mind,” read another tweet.
Speaking to the media, Gambhir said, “The AAP habitually plays dirty politics but this time I shall not allow them to escape. I shall file a defamation suite against the leaders of Kejriwal’s party. They have to give their reply in the court.”
Gambhir also said that he never made a negative statement against anyone so far in his election campaigning.
The former cricketer further said that the dirty politics being played by the AAP in the national capital will prove destructive for the party.
He said that he entered politics with a clean heart. “I also come from a family where there are five women members. I shall never do such dirty politics,” he said.
Earlier, Kejriwal had tweeted: “How can women expect safety if people with such mentality are voted in? Atishi, stay strong. I can imagine how difficult it must be for u. It is precisely this kind of forces we have to fight against.”
In East Delhi, Gambhir (37) is pitted against against Atishi (37), who holds a Masters degree from the Oxford University, and Congress candidate Arvinder Singh Lovely.
Atishi, who joined the AAP when it was founded in 2012, is a member of its Political Affairs Committee and National Executive.