AAP candidate quits poll fray, blames it on Rakhi Birla

AAP candidate quits poll fray, blames it on Rakhi BirlaNEW DELHI: AAP was today rocked by two withdrawals by its members as candidates for Lok Sabha polls with one of them accusing party colleague and former Delhi Minister Rakhi Birla of demanding money from him.

Mahender Singh, the AAP candidate for the North-West Delhi seat, withdrew from the electoral fray after alleging that Birla had demanded money from him and “simply refused” to campaign for him.

“When I asked her (Birla) to campaign for me in her constituency, she simply refused to work. Just before Holi, on March 15, she demanded Rs 7 lakh from me,” Singh alleged.

“I took up the issue with (AAP) secretary Pankaj Gupta. He said that the matter would be brought up in the Political Affairs Committee, but nothing was done.

“So, I have decided to withdraw my candidature,” Singh added.

Another AAP candidate, Khalid Pervez, who had received the party ticket for the Moradabad seat, also withdrew from the race saying he was being “compelled” to do so.

Reacting to the withdrawals, AAP spokesperson Nagender Sharma said, “Singh has withdrawn his candidature for personal reasons.”

Singh’s candidature was declared in AAP’s third list of candidates. He would have faced Union Minister and Congress candidate Krishna Tirath for the North-West Delhi seat.

Party sources said that Birla was in the race for an AAP ticket from either North-West or North-East Delhi, but she was passed over after the party decided not to allow any of its former MLAs to contest the parliamentary elections in view of protests from party workers.

Party sources said that Birla is expected to replace Singh despite its stand of not giving tickets to former MLAs.

Despite repeated attempts, Birla could not be reached for comments.

Meanwhile, Pervez, whose candidature was declared in the first list released by the party, said he had withdrawn his candidature on March 16. –PTI

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