The Aam Aadmi Party has blamed the BJP for a “fake” letter that has the party’s chief Arvind Kejriwal thanking jailed politician Mukhtar Ansari for supporting him in the contest against Narendra Modi in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Mukhtar Ansari, the chief of the Qaumi Ekta Dal, withdrew as a candidate from the temple town last week, saying that “secular votes” should not be divided. His exit is seen by some as a potential game-changer, as he is as an influential Muslim leader.
The Aam Aadmi Party or AAP strongly refuted reports of Mr Ansari supporting them and accused the BJP of spreading lies for political gains.
“BJP people are so afraid of losing Varanasi that they are spreading fake pics of AAP thanking M. Ansari for support (sic),” AAP tweeted, threatening to sue those in the media showing the party’s purported ‘thank you message’ to Ansari with a fake letterhead.
“We will take legal action for defamation and false news,” AAP said.
In the letter, “Arvind Kejriwal” says after Ansari’s support, “Muslim votes will come to the AAP and we would be able to keep communal forces out of Varanasi.”
Mukhtar Ansari is currently in jail in connection with a murder case. He had contested the 2009 general elections as the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate and lost by a slim margin to the BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi.
Ajay Rai, who is the Congress candidate in Varanasi this time, contested as a Samajwadi Party candidate and came third.
AAP sources say the fake letter to Ansari are part of an attempt to mislead Muslim voters as well as damage Mr. Kejriwal’s prospects among voters who see him as an anti-corruption icon. Setting the record straight, AAP declared on Sunday that it would not take the support of Ansari.
Mr. Kejriwal, who has vowed to defeat Mr. Modi in the national election, has faced posters in Varanasi calling him a “Bhagoda (deserter) from Delhi”, a swipe at his abrupt resignation after 49 days in Delhi.