Gautam Gambhir Sends Defamation Notice to Atishi, Kejriwal and Sisodia

The cricketer-turned-politician has also demanded an apology for being accused of distributing "obscene and derogatory" pamphlets against his AAP rival.

New Delhi: BJP’s East Delhi candidate Gautam Gambhir sent a notice to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Atishi on Thursday demanding their apology after being accused of being involved in the distribution of “obscene and derogatory” pamphlets against his Aam Aadmi Party rival.

In the notice, the trio was asked to withdraw their allegations against the cricketer-turned-politician and tender an unconditional apology.

Earlier in the day, Gambhir had said he would withdraw from the Lok Sabha contest if the charge was proved against him.

“I declare that if it’s proven that I did it, I will withdraw my candidature right now. If not, will u quit politics?,” he said in a tweet addressed to AAP supremo Kejriwal and Atishi, the party candidate from East Delhi.

Earlier on Thursday, Atishi had accused the BJP and Gambhir of resorting to character assassination in order to make political gains.

An emotional Atishi, who made a name for herself on Delhi’s political circuit through her work on education reforms and infrastructure, fought back tears as she spoke at a press conference about how pamphlets that sought to equate her with a “prostitute” were being distributed in Vishwas Nagar, Krishna Nagar and other parts of the constituency.

Even as she fought tears, she read out the content of pamphlets she alleges have been circulated by the BJP, even though they do not bear any signature. She said these pamphlets, with the title “Atishi Marlena – know your candidate”, were distributed to homes along with newspapers.

AAP spokesperson Akshay Marathe, while distributing copies of the pamphlet via WhatsApp, also said: “BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir distributed this pamphlet in East Delhi societies through newspapers.”

Meanwhile, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal issued a tweet accusing Gambhir of having lowered the narrative.

Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who accompanied Atishi at the conference, said: “We would clap for Gambhir when he used to bash opponents with fours and sixes while playing for India, but we never, in our worst dream, had thought that this man would stoop this low to win an election.”

Incidentally, in the pamphlet, casteist slurs have been hurled at Sisodia while Kejriwal has been called “a dog”.

Aam Aadmi Party East Delhi candidate Atishi during the press conference on May 9, 2019. Credit: PTI/Atul Yadav

Atishi also read out a part of the pamphlet which speaks about how she was married to a Christian from Andhra Pradesh and was a small-time school teacher there. Going further, she said, the pamphlet sought to attack her character.

As she could not proceed, Sisodia read out the rest of what the pamphlet had to say.

In his defence, Gambhir accused Kejriwal of playing dirty politics and using a woman’s modesty for political gains.