On Sunday (7 January), Arvind Kejriwal, the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), announced that the incarcerated MLA Chaitar Vasava would represent the party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Bharuch constituency. He threw down the gauntlet to the BJP to "cage a lion" like Vasava, affirming that the Dediapada MLA would vie for the Bharuch Lok Sabha seat even in his absence.
Kejriwal stated that the AAP has hired the country's most prestigious and expensive lawyers to represent the Gujarat AAP working president and his wife Shakuntala in the Supreme Court, concerning their bail pleas in the purported extortion case.
Notably, Kejriwal has shown also solidarity with jailed AAP leaders like Sanjay Singh, Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain.
On 18 December, Chaitar was committed to judicial custody by a local court in Dediapada, Narmada district, following a three-day police remand related to a case of purported extortion and assault of forest officials on 2 November. After evading arrest for more than a month, Chaitar surrendered on 14 December and attempted to secure bail on 18 December, but his plea was denied by the court.
Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal, along with his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, attended a public rally in Netrang, located in the Bharuch district. They were there to support Vasava and shared the stage with Chaitar's mother and his second wife, Varsha.
Kejriwal announced, "Chaitar Vasava is our candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from the Bharuch Parliamentary constituency. By the time of the polls, Chaitar will be free. We have engaged the services of the most elite and costly lawyers for both Chaitar Vasava and his wife, Shakuntala."
“On 20 January, Shakuntalaben ‘s bail plea will be heard by the Supreme Court and we are hopeful that she will be granted bail. But in case the BJP does not allow him to come out of prison by using their tactics, it will be your responsibility to make him win. Take his photo and go to each house… The BJP should lose its deposit from this seat,” he added.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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