Bridges burnt—can Arvind Kejriwal and AAP recover from the Swati Maliwal controversy : The Tribune India

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Bridges burnt—can Arvind Kejriwal and AAP recover from the Swati Maliwal controversy

While BJP makes it all about women’s ‘asmita’, unverified videos against Maliwal are also doing the rounds

Bridges burnt—can Arvind Kejriwal and AAP recover from the Swati Maliwal controversy

Swati Maliwal at the Tis Hazari court in Delhi after recording her statement. PTI

Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, May 17

Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal’s allegations against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar are not only shocking but also damning, laying bare the ugly side of politics. 

It remains to be seen if AAP is able to survive the setback but for now the allegation (as per the police FIR) that Kumar allegedly kicked and slapped Maliwal multiple times and did not relent even while she screamed for help seem to have delivered a setback to the party, and that too in the middle of an important election season.

Details of the alleged assault on Maliwal, which took place at Kejriwal’s official residence on Monday, emerged on Friday as the Rajya Sabha MP appeared before a magistrate to record her statement in the case. 

The Delhi police on Thursday registered an FIR and named Kumar as an accused in the case, officials said.

For AAP, the controversy couldn’t have come at a worse time. 

For starters, it happened right in the middle of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections and at a time when two states--Punjab and Delhi--where AAP is a major player are yet to vote. Will it affect the voting patterns as the rival BJP seems to be hoping remains to be seen. 

Bridges have been burnt

While AAP deployed Sanjay Singh to placate Maliwal, after today’s developments it now seems clear that there can be no going back on either side.

While the BJP makes it about women’s ‘asmita’, questioning the “silence” of "shameless" Kejriwal and INDIA bloc partners, unverified videos against Maliwal have started doing the rounds. 

One video captures an argument between Maliwal and the security personnel at the residence of the Delhi Chief Minister on the day. It shows Maliwal arguing with the staff at Kejriwal’s residence, saying she has already called the police and “tumhari naukari kha jaungi’ (make sure you lose your job) if you touch me”. 

While security personnel ask her to leave, she can also be seen “abusing”, apparently Kumar.

AAP insiders say they have “other evidence” against Maliwal as well.    

What went wrong between Maliwal and Kejriwal

Known to speak her mind, Maliwal had been in news for various reasons, including her candid talk regarding “abuse” by her father and “bad marriage” with Naveen Jaihind, the same man who spoke in her favour after the incident with Bibhav, warning “danger to her life”.  

Maliwal, who was picked by the Delhi CM to represent the party in the Rajya Sabha, has been associated with Kejriwal before AAP came into being. In fact, she joined Kejriwal’s NGO Parivartan after graduating from college and was later appointed the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, which is why her “absence” in Delhi when the Delhi CM was arrested in March appeared surprising.  

Whatever Singh and other AAP leaders may say, all has not been well between Maliwal and her party for a while now.

Delhi’s power corridors are buzzing with speculation, one of which is that Kejriwal was “not happy” with Maliwal’s long absence before and after his arrest in the excise policy case in March. Though, according to Maliwal, she was in the US for her sister’s treatment, the fact is even after she returned to India she was not seen much in the public.

Bone of contention—Swati’s Rajya Sabha seat?

AAP leaders have rubbished the buzz that Maliwal was being pressured to give up her Rajya Sabha membership in favour of Congress’s Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who also happened to be Kejriwal’s lawyer in the excise policy case. BJP leaders claim this to be the “key reason”. 


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The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#Arvind Kejriwal #BJP #Rajya Sabha

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