Priyanka Gandhi Asked About Swati Maliwal Assault Case. Her Guarded Reply

Swati Maliwal has alleged that she was assaulted by a member of Arvind Kejriwal’s staff

New Delhi:

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had a guarded response to a question on the row surrounding the alleged assault of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP and former chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal that has put the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in a spot.

Ms Maliwal, a Rajya Sabha member, was allegedly assaulted by Bibhav Kumar, Mr Kejriwal’s personal assistant, at the Delhi Chief Minister’s residence Monday morning. She is yet to file a complaint. AAP MP Sanjay Singh has told the media that Bibhav Kumar “misbehaved” with Ms Maliwal, who went to the Chief Minister’s residence to meet him. He added that the Chief Minister had taken note and “strictest” action would be taken in the matter.

Today, a Delhi Police team comprising three IPS officers visited Ms Maliwal’s Delhi residence.  

When news agency ANI asked Ms Gandhi Vadra about the matter concerning its ally AAP, she replied, “There are two issues here. If any atrocity happens to any woman anywhere, we stand with the woman. I always stand with women – irrespective of which party they belong to. And, AAP will discuss it among themselves and take a decision. It is up to them.” Ms Gandhi Vadra is in Raebareli to campaign for her brother and Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi for the May 20 election.  

Once bitter rivals, AAP and Congress have now joined forces under the INDIA Opposition bloc to take on the ruling BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. AAP and Congress have an alliance in Delhi, where the BJP has been winning all seven Lok Sabha seats over the past two elections. The two allies are, however, on opposite sides in Punjab, where AAP is in power and Congress is the main opposition.

With the polls in the national capital due on May 25, the BJP has gone all-out against AAP in the alleged assault case. The BJP’s charge also comes against the backdrop of Mr Kejriwal’s release on interim bail, following which the AAP leader has launched scathing attacks on BJP.

In fact, Mr Kejriwal faced questions on the Swati Maliwal case today at a press conference with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow. When a journalist asked him about the matter, Mr Yadav said there are more important issues to be discussed.

Later, AAP MP Sanjay Singh, seated next to the Delhi Chief Minister, responded to the question. “The whole country is upset that a Kargil hero’s wife was stripped and paraded in Manipur, scores of women were tortured, but the Prime Minister is silent. Thousands of women were raped by (JDS MP) Prajwal Revanna, and the Prime Minister seeks votes for him. The BJP helps him flee the country. When our wrestler daughters were fighting for justice at Jantar Mantar, it was Swati Maliwal, then Chairperson of (Delhi) Women’s Commission, who went to support them and was dragged and beaten by the police,” Mr Singh said.

The Rajya Sabha MP said Aam Aadmi Party is a family. “The party has made its stance clear, and I want the Prime Minister and the BJP to respond to all the issues I have raised. Please don’t play political games on this,” he said.

Eager to corner AAP over the issue, the BJP has questioned Mr Kejriwal’s silence on the issue. “She is the leader of the opposition party, but BJP is fighting to ensure that she gets justice. Arvind Kejriwal should answer, if you are a coward CM and cannot speak a single word, then you should resign because the women of the country are angry and feeling insulted and only Arvind Kejriwal is responsible for this,” party spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia has said.

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